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Spedding just the ticket for France

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre has chosen a new half-back pairing for Les Bleus' opening autumn international against Fiji and also handed a debut to South African-born full-back Scott Spedding.

Fly-half Camille Lopez will link up with scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde in the first of three Test fixtures, with France also set to face Australia and Argentina this month.

Spedding has also been given the nod ahead of the injured Brice Dulin and will make his France debut in the number 15 shirt. The Bayonne player moved to France in 2008 and has since become a French citizen.

Saint-Andre told "Let's say Scott Spedding is a player that we have followed for quite some years. He was at Brive and Bayonne.

"This is one of the best backs in French rugby for four or five seasons. From the moment we lost Brice Dulin last week and Maxime Medard was not 100 per cent, we needed a returner who is strong under high balls, who also has qualities on foot in the long game.

"He has these three qualities there, plus he has a lot of charisma so it naturally fits in this group. For now, it is well suited. Now we must leave him alone.

"He dreamed of the France team, and his dream will become reality late on Saturday afternoon."

Alexandre Dumoulin will start at outside centre and Teddy Thomas is named on the wing for Les Bleus.

Fiji will be a tough opening test for France as they defeated Italy and hammered Tonga in June, as well as a narrow defeat to Samoa.


From Belfast Telegraph