Raka in France's 65-man World Cup preliminary squad

Paris (AFP) –


Fijian-born winger Alivereti Raka was named in France's preliminary squad for this year's World Cup, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on Monday.

Uncapped Raka, 24, received his French citizenship in November and has impressed for club side Clermont in the past four seasons but missed out on selection for the Six Nations due to a hand injury.

Each player on the 65-man list has been contacted by head coach Jacques Brunel and asked to collect the necessary registration documents ahead of the tournament which begins on September 20 in Japan.

Brunel will keep an eye on those included until the end of the French Top 14 season on June 15.

The FFR said the group was not closed nor final with the likes of seasoned fly half Francois Trinh-Duc and in-form back-rowers Sekou Macalou and Kevin Gourdon in the international wilderness.

Les Bleus open their campaign against Argentina before facing the United States, Tonga and England in the pool stages.

Brunel, 65, will work alongside Fabien Galthie in the build-up and during the competition after the former France captain was appointed an assistant coach before he is to take over as head coach after the World Cup.

A final squad of 31 as well as an additional seven reserves will be announced on June 18.

France preliminary World Cup squad

Forwards (36): Gregory Alldritt, Uini Atonio, Mathieu Babillot, Cyril Baille, Demba Bamba, Eddy Ben Arous, Pierre Bourgarit, Yacouba Camara, Camille Chat, Francois Cros, Etienne Falgoux, Paul Gabrillagues, Kelian Galletier, Cedate Gomes Sa, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Mickael Ivaldi, Anthony Jelonch, Felix Lambey, Wenceslas Lauret, Bernard Le Roux, Quentin Lespiaucq-Brettes, Yoann Maestri, Peato Mauvaka, Charles Ollivon, Louis Picamoles, Jefferson Poirot, Dany Priso, Fabien Sanconnie, Emerick Setiano, Rabah Slimani, Romain Taofifenua, Christopher Tolofua, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Florian Verhaeghe, Paul Willemse

Backs (29): Mathieu Bastareaud, Anthony Belleau, Sebastien Bezy, Louis Carbonel, Baptiste Couilloud, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Nans Ducuing, Brice Dulin, Antoine Dupont, Gael Fickou, Wesley Fofana, Remy Grosso, Sofiane Guitoune, Yoann Huget, Mathieu Jalibert, Camille Lopez, Maxime Machenaud, Maxime Medard, Noa Nakaitaci, Romain Ntamack, Geoffrey Palis, Morgan Parra, Damien Penaud, Alivereti Raka, Thomas Ramos, Arthur Retiere, Baptiste Serin, Teddy Thomas, Virimi Vakatawa