Rugby Union: French end Skrela's five-year exile

29th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Jan 28, 2007 (AFP) - Fly-half David Skrela is set to start France's Six Nations opener in Italy next Saturday - five years after he won his one and only international cap.

PARIS, Jan 28, 2007 (AFP) - Fly-half David Skrela is set to start France's Six Nations opener in Italy next Saturday - five years after he won his one and only international cap.

The Stade Francais player, who picked up an injury in his side's 22-20 French championship win against Toulouse on Saturday where he kicked five penalties, last appeared for the national team in June 2001 in a 37-12 defeat to the All Blacks in Wellington.

Skrela should take the field in Rome looking to make his mark in France's problematic position and is likely to have Clermont's Pierre Mignoni alongside him at scrum-half.

Mignoni last played for the national team in the 62-14 win over Romania in June.

"We wanted to put together the most competitive squad possible," said France team manager Jo Maso whose side are the defending Six Nations champions.

Sale number eight Sebastien Chabal returns to back row contention for the first time since being injured in the 43-8 win over Tonga in November 2005.

Toulouse's Clement Poitrenaud should fill the full-back position in the absence of Saracens' Thomas Castaignede.

Winger Vincent Clerc, of Toulouse, was also a late call-up after Clermont's Aurelien Rougerie was ruled out after picking up a red card in the French championship on Saturday.

Rougerie, who has 45 caps to his name, was cautioned twice for two deliberate knock-ons in his team's 22-18 defeat at Agen.

In total, the squad features six players who missed the autumn internationals -  Poitrenaud, Clerc, Skrela, Chabal, back row forward Imanol Harinordoquy and lock Jerome Thion.

Poitrenaud returns for the first time since France's 45-6 defeat at the hands of the All Blacks in November 2004; Biarritz duo Harinordoquy and Thion were ruled out of the autumn series through injury.

The team for the match in Rome will be announced on Tuesday with the only injury doubts in the squad surrounding utility back Damien Traille (hip) and back rower Julien Bonnaire (ankle).

"These are our only worries," said Maso. "If they pull out, we have replacements to hand."

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Rugby

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