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France call up New Zealand-born lock for Wales clash

NEWS: Emmanuel Meafou is in line to win his first Test cap for France after being named on Thursday in Fabien Galthie’s 34-man squad for the Six Nations match against Wales on March 10.

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Meafou, 25, who was born in Auckland and raised in Australia, joined the Toulouse academy in 2019 and became a French citizen in November last year.

Weighing in at 145kg and standing 2.03 metres, he is now in line for a Test debut in Cardiff as France look to bounce back after a poor start to the campaign which has produced a win, a draw and a defeat.

His Toulouse teammate and fellow lock Thibaud Flament, who was a key member of France’s World Cup squad, has also been drafted in with both players due to return from injury on Saturday in the Top 14 match against Castres.

No.8 Gregory Alldritt, who captained France in their opening two matches, returns to the squad after recovering from a thigh injury that kept him out of last week’s game against Italy.

La Rochelle flyhalf Antoine Hastoy and Toulouse centre Pierre-Louis Barassi have been drafted into the backs.

Hastoy, who has been left out since a disappointing World Cup, replaces the injured Matthieu Jalibert, leaving Racing playmaker Antoine Gibert in position to win his first cap.

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Barassi is in the squad following Jonathan Danty’s red card against Italy which has seen the La Rochelle centre suspended for the remainder of the tournament.

After a convincing defeat by Ireland in Marseille, France edged a controversial win in Edinburgh before scraping a lucky draw at home to the Italians.

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