Mathieu Bastareaud returns to injury-hit France squad

Powerful Toulon centre in the frame for the opener against England at Twickenham

Mathieu Bastareaud was called into the France squad for the Six Nations on Monday as Les Bleus suffered further injury setbacks in the build-up up to their opening game against England.

The powerful Toulon centre replaced Henry Chavancy who was called up on Sunday after Wesley Fofana ruptured an Achilles tendon playing for his club Clermont in the 48-26 Champions Cup win over Exeter on Saturday.

The French federation did not elaborate on the nature of Chavancy's injury or that of prop Eddy Ben Arous, who has been ruled out and replaced by Xavier Chiocci.

The 28-year-old Bastareaud, who has 39 caps, has not featured for France since the 62-13 defeat by New Zealand in the 2015 World Cup quarter-finals.

Coach Guy Noves, who took over from Philippe Saint-Andre after the World Cup, said this month that Bastareaud was on the right path to a France comeback a year after explaining that the player did not fit into his game plan.

Les Bleus play Six Nations champions England at Twickeham on February 4th