Six Nations 2015: France recall trio ahead of Italian job in Rome
Nicolas Mas, Maxime Mermoz and Rory Kockott included in Philippe Saint-Andre's squad for round four next week
Philippe Saint-Andre has recalled experienced duo Nicolas Mas and Maxime Mermoz to his 30-man France training squad ahead of their RBS 6 Nations match with Italy.
The France head coach has also recalled Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott, who missed their 20-13 defeat to Wales in Paris last week.
He is an important member of the squad and his experience will be an asset when discussing who will travel to Rome.
Yannick Bru on Nicolas Mas
With their hopes of winning a first Six Nations title since 2010, Saint-Andre launched a scathing attack on a number of his players for failing to perform in the opening three rounds of the championship.
But he has continued to keep faith with the majority of his squad ahead of the clash for the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy at the Stadio Olimpico, a venue where they have lost on their last two Six Nations visits.
Montpellier prop Mas, who has 76 caps to his name, with forwards coach Yannick Bru saying that the 34-year-old’s experience would be useful ahead of the Italy clash in Rome.
“Nicolas’ experience is going to reinforce the group in preparing for the match with Italy,” Bru said.
“He is an important member of the squad and his experience will be an asset when discussing who will travel to Rome.”
South Africa-born Kockott missed the Wales game with a thigh injury, but has been recalled despite a failing to shine in France’s win over Scotland and defeat to Ireland.
But with Clermont Auvergne scrum-half Morgan Parra ruled out of the rest of the tournament with a knee injury, Kockott could get a second chance if, as expected, he deputises for Toulon’s Sebastien Tillous-Borde.
Toulon centre Mermoz joins the squad for the first time since France’s 18-13 defeat to Argentina in November as a replacement for Racing Metro centre Remi Lamerat, who went off injured in the first half against Wales.
“[Mermoz] knows our patterns and can integrate the group quickly,” said backs coach Patrice Lagisquet.
France training squad (30):
Forwards (17): Eddy Ben Arous (Racing Metro), Vincent Debaty (Clermont Auvergne), Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Rabah Slimani (Stade Français), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier), Jocelino Suta (Toulon), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Français), Romain Taofifenua (Toulon), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Yannick Nyanga (Toulouse), Wenceslas Lauret (Racing Metro), Loann Goujon (La Rochelle).
Backs (13): Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon), Rory Kockott (Castres), Remi Tales (Castres), Camille Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), Jules Plisson (Stade Français), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon), Gaël Fickou (Toulouse), Sofiane Guitoune (Bordeaux-Begles), Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Noa Nakaitaci (Clermont Auvergne), Scott Spedding (Bayonne), Brice Dulin (Racing Metro).