Friday 28 July 2017

Injuries force Noves to end Bastareaud's French exile

Mathieu Bastareaud has been called into France’s Six Nations squad. Photo: Reuters
Mathieu Bastareaud has been called into France’s Six Nations squad. Photo: Reuters

Tom Rooney

Mathieu Bastareaud has been called into France's Six Nations squad as a replacement for Henry Chavancy, who was only drafted in on Sunday after Wesley Fofana was injured.

The uncapped Chavancy, who scored a try and played the full 80 minutes in Racing 92's Champions Cup loss to Munster at Thomond Park on Saturday, had been asked to fill the void left behind by Fofana after the Clermont centre ruptured his Achilles tendon in his side's victory over Exeter Chiefs.

The French Federation did not specify the nature of Chavancy's injury but mammoth Toulon midfielder Bastareaud could feature for France for first time since their crushing World Cup quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.

Until now, head coach Guy Noves had deemed the 28-year-old not a part of his masterplan to restore Les Bleus' traditional brand of play.

Prop Eddy Ben Arous, another Racing player who featured in Limerick, has also been ruled out of the tournament - again for unspecified reasons - and has been replaced by Xavier Chiocci.

Strides

Meanwhile, Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde has said that Talupe Faletau has made significant strides in his recovery from a knee injury he suffered on Bath duty on Christmas Eve, though was unwilling to confirm if the No 8 would be ready to face Italy in their Six Nations opener on February 5.

"It's going the right way, but it's a bit too early to say yea or nay for Italy. He's progressing well and is back running," McBryde said.

Elsewhere, England defence coach Paul Gustard has revealed that he has been utilising mixed martial arts techniques as a means of improving the champions' physicality.

He also said that Saracens lock George Kruis would be sufficiently recovered from a fractured cheekbone to take part when England begin their title defence against France at Twickenham.

Gustard also claimed that prop Joe Marler could feature on February 4, despite fracturing his leg just over a fortnight ago.

Irish Independent

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