Saint-André set to blood new players

27th Aug 2014, 15:12

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Call-up: Uini Atonio is being closely followed by the French staff

Call-up: Uini Atonio is being closely followed by the French staff

Charles Ollivon, Uini Atonio and Rory Kockott are in contention for a France call-up for the November Tests according to L'Equipe.

Charles Ollivon, Uini Atonio and Rory Kockott are in contention for a France call-up for the November Tests according to L'Equipe.

The trio have been picked out as part of a large overview of the French squad, with just over a year to go before next year's World Cup.

And with France having struggled for results in the first three years in charge for Philippe Saint-André, it seems the French coach is not averse to bringing in some new blood for the defining season of his tenure.

Young number eight Ollivon has been in flying form to start the season with Bayonne, and the 21-year-old stood out in front of forwards coach Yannick Bru during the opening Top 14 clash with Toulon.

His ascension into the national set-up would cap a remarkable rise, but with Louis Picamoles out indefinitely through illness, there appears to be a spot up for grabs alongside Damien Chouly.

La Rochelle skipper Atonio has been spoken about for a while, and will become eligible for the first time in November.

Born in New Zealand of Samoan heritage, the 24-year-old tighthead has already been to Marcoussis for a series of physical tests last season, and his unique physique (1m97 and 149kg) appeals to the staff.

The third case mentioned by L'Equipe is that of scrum-half Rory Kockott, who will also be eligible in November. The South African-born Castres star was overlooked once more for the Springboks this summer, and appears to be well down the pecking order with Heyneke Meyer.

Saint-André, on the other hand, is keen to bring Kockott into the French squad with Maxime Machenaud and Morgan Parra currently the top two in the hierarchy.

Among the other players in contention are youngsters Yacouba Camara, Romain Taofifenua and Xavier Chiocci, while Toulon scrum-half Sébastien Tillous-Bordes might also be in line for a recall.