France trio Vakatawa, Penaud, Chat set to return for Wales Six Nations trip

PARIS (AFP) – Centre Virimi Vakatawa, winger Damian Penaud and hooker Camille Chat are expected to return for unbeaten France’s Six Nations trip to Wales two weeks’ time, the French Rugby Federation announced on Tuesday.

The trio have been named in the 28-man squad to prepare for the third round match in Cardiff on February 22.

In-form Vakatawa, 27, who has six tries in 10 games for club Racing 92 this season, missed Sunday’s 35-22 victory over Italy with a tricep injury as les Bleus moved to the top of the table on points difference.

Penaud, 23, and Chat, 24, were sidelined with different problems for the 24-17 win over England on February 2 as well as for the visit of the Azzurri.

Vincent Rattez, who replaced Penaud in the starting lineup for the opening two rounds of the competition, was ruled out for the rest of the tournament with a broken fibula earlier in the day.

Montpellier winger Gabriel Ngandebe, Lyon back-rower Dylan Cretin and Toulon’s Jean-Baptiste Gros are the uncapped players included by coach Fabien Galthie.

With Chat’s return to the international fold Toulouse front-rower Peato Mauvaka was made available for his club in the French Top 14 this weekend.

Galthie’s rejuvenated side face reigning champions Wales, who have beaten Italy but have lost to Ireland so far this year, at the Principality Stadium later this month.