Six Nations

Kockott aiming to keep cool

2015-02-05 20:31
Rory Kockott (Gallo Images)

Marcoussis - South African-born scrumhalf Rory Kockott has said he is focussed on his performance against Scotland on Saturday as he makes his first France start.

The 28-year-old from East London made three appearances from the bench for Les Bleus in the November tests but for France's Six Nations opener at the Stade de France, he will get his first nod from the off.

"The start means a lot more responsibility in the time you're going to play on the field," said the Castres half-back, whose opportunist try against Toulon helped his side to the Top 14 crown in 2013.

"It's something I've got to really concentrate on and be of great service to the team from the get-go to the end."

Kockott admitted that a start for the side in the Six Nations is more important than being involved in the November internationals, which are essentially friendlies.

"You can view it like that, (but) the November tests were a great introduction for anyone," he said.

"Obviously at international level there are not many games that are more important than others.

"For me now, I think it's a great opportunity to be proud and, more than to be proud, to be performant in the time I need to be performant."

In Kockott's role as scrum-half he is the crucial link between the pack and the three-quarter line, and he is entirely focussed on doing the basics well.

"In a certain way, my objective is to be of great service to the forwards and to direct it (the pack) in the most intelligent way I can, and certainly deliver the best possible ball I can to the backs.

"In between that, we (France) have a plan. We obviously have a strategy and the detail in between that is what I have to get right for all of that to fall into place."

Another South African import, full-back Scott Spedding, has retained his place in the team for the fourth match in row, having made also his France bow in November.

But the 28-year-old says he still has a long way to go before he can consider himself a permanent fixture in the team.

"It's a privilege to have another opportunity to wear this jersey but I need to start the Six Nations well because there is competition with Brice (Dulin) who is coming back (from injury), so I'm a long way from being part of the furniture.

"It's a mark of confidence for the coach to give me another opportunity.

"In rugby, confidence is very important so when the coaches have faith in you, it motivates you a lot more because you want to show them they've made the right choice."

Dulin was the first choice French full-back until injury ruled him out of the November internationals, where Spedding shone with his aggressive style and willingness to run from deep with ball in hand.

Dulin has only recently returned from injury and Spedding knows he faces a fight to keep the No.15 jersey.

That was something he dreamt about since arriving in France several years ago to join the junior ranks at Brive, considering it a better career move than staying in his homeland.

Back then his only trips to the Stade de France were as a fan, though.

"I came up several times with friends to watch the Six Nations games and I was there in 2011 when Lionel Nallet scored twice against Wales (in a 28-9 success). The atmosphere in the stadium with everyone singing was special.

"Now I'm here to play in the first match in the Six Nations, in France, in front of our fans. So, yes, it's a dream."

Read more on:    france  |  six nations  |  rory kockott  |  rugby


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