Six Nations

Kockott to make France debut

2015-02-04 12:02
Rory Kockott (Gallo Images)

Marcoussis - South African-born scrumhalf Rory Kockott will make his first start for France in their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday in Paris, coach Philippe Saint-Andre announced on Wednesday.

After three substitute appearances for Les Bleus during the November internationals, the 28-year-old Castres half-back will line-up alongside Camille Lopez, who starts at flyhalf.

It will be the 14th different starting half-back pairing aligned by Saint-Andre since taking over the France reins three years ago - in November, Toulon scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Borde started all three Tests but was suffering from a knee injury in the build up to the Six Nations.

"It's logical (to pick Kockott) given our organisation in November," said Saint-Andre.

"Rory... has been able to work on his combination with Camille Lopez these last two weeks (while Tillous-Borde was injured)."

Saint-Andre added that the former Sharks and Lions player was "a competitor by spirit who is very good in contact."

Lopez, who moved from relegated Perpignan to giants Clermont at the start of this season, stamped his authority on the No 10 jersey with some commanding performances in the autumn. It means Kockott's half-back partner at Castres, Remi Tales, who was first choice in last season's Six Nations, starts on the bench.

Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra is recalled to the bench having missed the November internationals due to a shoulder injury.

Scott Spedding, another South African born player who only made his France debut in November, continues at fullback while Stade Francais prop Rabah Slimani comes in at tighthead, with veteran Nicolas Mas not even making the bench.

The 34-year-old Montpellier player, who has donned the France shirt 76 times was even overlooked in favour of Uini Atonio, who starts among the replacements.

"With what Rabah has shown at Stade Francais, with his movement and reactivity, it's normal that he starts," said Saint-Andre.

Barrel-chested back Mathieu Bastareaud comes in at outside centre in place of the injured Alexandre Dumoulin, while La Rochelle flank Loann Goujon will make his debut if he comes off the bench.


15 Scott Spedding, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Teddy Thomas, 10 Camille Lopez, 9 Rory Kockott, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Bernard Le Roux, 6 Thierry Dusautoir, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Guilhem Guirado, 1 Alexandre Menini

Substitutes: 16 Benjamin Kayser, 17 Uini Atonio, 18 Eddy Ben Arous, 19 Romain Taofifenua, 20 Loann Goujon, 21 Morgan Parra, 22 Remi Tales, 23 Remi Lamerat


Read more on:    six nations  |  rugby


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