In Summary
  • Jacques Brunel pointed out the 2.01m tall forward's physical attributes as a reason for his inclusion.
  • Fijian-born winger Alivereti Raka, who also received his French nationality in November, is not included due to a hand injury.
  • Clermont's experienced pair of Morgan Parra and Wesley Fofana return to the squad after missing the November Tests through injuries.

South Africa-born Paul Willemse was one of five uncapped players named by Jacques Brunel Wednesday in the France squad for the two opening matches of the Six Nations.

Ex-Bulls lock Willemse, 26, qualifies for his adoptive country on residency grounds having spent more than three years with Top 14 clubs Montpellier and Grenoble.

The Pretoria native received his citizenship in November after French Rugby Federation president Bernard Laporte said in December 2016 that possession of a French passport was a requirement for inclusion in the national team.

Brunel pointed out the 2.01m tall forward's physical attributes as a reason for his inclusion.

"Looking at his height and weight is enough, he has the ability to provide continuity in our play," he said.

Willemse could line up alongside another South African-born player in the second-row as 33-time France international Bernard Le Roux is also in the 31-man squad.

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