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Bastareaud to miss start of Six Nations

France centre Mathieu Bastareaud has been suspended for three weeks for making homophobic comments during a Champions Cup win over Benetton Treviso and will miss the start of next month’s Six Nations.

Bastareaud was cited for “verbally abusing the Benetton Rugby flanker, Sebastian Negri Da Oleggio, in the 80th minute of the match in contravention of Law 9.12,” European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said in a statement on Wednesday.

The ban for Bastareaud, who apologised on social media for his remarks, followed an independent EPCR Disciplinary Hearing and means he will miss his country’s opening Six Nations game against Ireland on February 3.

Bastareaud was earlier named in a 32-man French squad for the Six Nations. Halfback Morgan Parra was recalled with head coach Jacques Brunel also naming six uncapped players.

Parra, 29, last played for his country in October 2015 and did not feature under former France coach Guy Noves, who was sacked in December following a poor run of results.

Bordeaux five-eighth Matthieu Jalibert received his first call-up while uncapped Danny Priso, Cedate Gomes Sa, Felix Lambey, Marco Tauleign and Geoffrey Palis were also chosen.

Veterans Francois Trinh-Duc and Louis Picamoles are the most notable absentees in Brunel’s squad.

FRANCE: Backs: Anthony Jelonch, Felix Lambey, Remi Lamerat, Wenceslas Lauret, Sekou Macalou, Maxime Machenaud, Geoffrey Palis, Morgan Parra, Jefferson Poirot, Dany Priso, Rabah Slimani, Marco Tauleigne, Teddy Thomas, Cristopher Tolofua, Sebastien Vahaamahina, Virimi Vakatawa.

Forwards: Mathieu Bastareaud, Anthony Belleau, Eddy Ben Arous, Yacouba Camara, Camille Chat, Henry Chavancy, Geoffrey Doumayrou, Brice Dulin, Antoine Dupont, Benjamin Fall, Paul Gabrillagues, Cedate Gomes Sa, Kevin Gourdon, Guilhem Guirado, Arthur Iturria, Matthieu Jalibert.

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