Vermeulen gets his chance

France number eight Elvis Vermeulen will get another chance to stake his claim for a starting spot against England on March 11 when he turns out for the French Barbarians against Argentina this weekend.

The big forward has been drafted into the Baabaas side for Saturday’s clash in Biarritz after Yannick Nyanga was forced to pull out with a thigh injury.

Vermeulen is one of 12 players released for the match by Les Bleus, who are currently in the middle of their Six Nations Championship campaign.

The Clermont-Auvergne star was forced to play second fiddle to Sebastien Chabal for the number eight berth for France’s opening two games of the Six Nations, against Italy and Ireland.

But Vermeulen, who was impressive in the autumn internationals last year, was brought back into side for the 32-21 win against Wales on Saturday, after Chabal was ruled out through injury.

The two will be competing for a starting spot for the crucial clash against England at Twickenham in a week and a half, and a good performance against Argentina will help Vermeulen’s case.

Toulouse flanker Nyanga has yet to feature for Les Bleus in this year’s Six Nations, although he should return to full fitness in time to be available for the game against the world champions.

Vermeulen has been named as flanker for this weekend, with captain Thomas Lievremont starting at number eight.

Other players named for the match who are pushing to play against England next week include centre Damien Traille, winger Aurelien Rougerie, fly-half Lionel Beauxis, flanker Thierry Dusautoir and prop Laurent Emmanuelli.

Stade Francais flanker Remy Martin misses out as he is still struggling with a virus.

But he hopes to be back in training at France’s squad base at Marcoussis for next week.

“On Friday, I will take some tests, which should get rid of any last doubts,” he said.

“I am looking forward to returning to Marcoussis.”

365 Digital

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