Tinkerman Philippe Saint-Andre names yet another French halfback pairing

South African-born fullback Scott Spedding one of three to debut against Fiji

Racing Metro  winger Teddy Thomas will make his debut for France against Fiji in Marseille on Saturday. Photograph:    Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Racing Metro winger Teddy Thomas will make his debut for France against Fiji in Marseille on Saturday. Photograph: Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

 

France manager Philippe Saint-Andre is continuing his experiments with yet another halfback pairing as France take on Fiji in the first of three November Tests on Saturday.

Less than a year before the World Cup, Saint-Andre named his 13th starting combination when he chose to pair Clermont outhalf Camille Lopez with Toulon scrumhalf Sebastien Tillous-Borde in a team featuring South-African born fullback Scott Spedding.

It is the first time that Tillous-Borde will play for France since he won the last of his eight caps in a Six Nations game in 2009.

Saint-Andre has been tinkering with his 9-10 combinations since he took over from Marc Lievremont after the 2011 World Cup, and the team to face Fiji suggests he is nowhere close to finding a solution.

Spedding, who has been called up to make up for the absence of the injured fullback Brice Dulin, will be one of three uncapped players to make his France debut.

The Racing Metro duo of wing Teddy Thomas and centre Alexandre Dumoulin will also start for the first time as Saint-Andre looks to boost the competition within the squad ahead of the World Cup.

Remi Tales and South African Rory Kockott, who play together at Castres , are among the 10 players Saint-Andre will choose from to name his replacements on Saturday before the game in Marseille.

FRANCE (v Fiji, Marseille, Saturday): Scott Spedding (Bayonne); Yoann Huget (Toulouse), Alexandre Dumoulin (Racing Metro), Wesley Fofana (Clermont Auvergne), Teddy Thomas (Racing Metro); Camille Lopez (Clermont Auvergne), Sebastien Tillous-Borde (Toulon); Alexandre Menini (Toulon), Guilhem Guirado (Toulon), Nicolas Mas (Montpellier); Pascal Pape (Stade Francais), Yoann Maestri (Toulouse); Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt), Bernard Le Roux (Racing Metro), Damien Chouly (Clermont Auvergne).

Replacements (TBC from): Benjamin Kayser (Clermont Auvergne), Uini Atonio (La Rochelle), Xavier Chiocci (Toulon), Alexandre Flanquart (Stade Francais), Sebastien Vahaamahina (Clermont Auvergne), Charles Ollivon (Bayonne), Rory Kockott (Castres), Remi Tales (Castres), Mathieu Bastareaud (Toulon), Maxime Mermoz (Toulon).

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