Bernard Laporte has called Geoffrey Messina into France's truncated RBS 6 Nations championship squad as the coach tries to come to terms with an injury list that is seriously hampering his preparations for the competition.
Messina, the uncapped Stade Francais centre who many felt was unlucky not to be named in the original party of 40, was called up on Thursday as a replacement for the injured Romain Cabannes.
He is now one of 33 players available for selection for Les Bleus' opening Six Nations match, an away clash against Italy on February 3.
On Thursday Laporte had been expected to name his 22-man matchday squad for the game, but the injury situation means the announcement has been put back until Sunday.
Seven players of the original 40 will not be involved against Italy.
Captain Fabien Pelous (ankle) and hooker Benoit August (ribs) were already out, while number eight Elvis Vermeulen and backs Jean-Baptiste Elissalde, Benjamin Boyet, Vincent Clerc and Thomas Castaignede will not be considered due to their various problems.
And with a number of key France stars set to feature in Stade Francais' crunch Top 14 match with Toulouse at the Stade de France on Saturday, Laporte will be keeping his fingers crossed that no other players pick up fresh injuries.
Stade coach Fabien Galthie reckons Messina's call-up is well-deserved.
'It is good for Geoffrey,' the former France scrum-half said.
'Since his arrival in Paris, he has brought a new and necessary dimension to our back play and has technique in defence.
'To be involved in the France team will give him the feeling that he is progressing.'
Messina, a 24-year-old who has had stints at Clermont-Auvergne and Grenoble earlier in his career, said of his call-up: 'It is amazing, I am happy.'
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