Six Nations 2015: Rory Kockott in first France start against Scots

Rory Kockott in training with France
Rory Kockott has made three appearances for France as a replacement
RBS Six Nations: France v Scotland
Venue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Saturday 7 February Kick-off: 17:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC TV, Radio 5 Live, BBC Radio Scotland, BBC Sport website.

South African-born scrum-half Rory Kockott will make his first start for France in their Six Nations opener against Scotland on Saturday in Paris.

The 28-year-old made three substitute appearances for Les Blues during the November internationals.

He is one of seven changes from the side that lost 18-13 to South Africa in Paris in November.

Toulon scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde, 29, who started all the November Tests, has a knee injury.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre said: "It's logical given our organisation in November.

"Rory has been able to work on his combination with Camille Lopez these last two weeks."

It will be the 14th different starting half-back pairing chosen by Saint-Andre since he took over as France coach three years ago.

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

Rabah Slimani and Nicolas Mas in training
Rabah Slimani is preferred to Nicolas Mas in the French starting line-up

Fly-half Lopez, who moved from relegated Perpignan to Clermont at the start of this season, retains the No 10 jersey.

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 scrum-half Morgan Parra is recalled to the bench having missed the November internationals with a shoulder injury.

Scott Spedding, another South African-born player who only made his France debut in November, continues at full-back, while Stade Francais prop Rabah Slimani comes in at tight-head, with veteran Nicolas Mas, 34, not even making the bench.

Inexperienced Samoa-born La Rochelle prop Uini Atonio is preferred to the Montpellier man, who has 76 caps, on the bench.

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

Toulon's Mathieu Bastareaud comes in at outside centre in place of the injured Alexandre Dumoulin, while La Rochelle flanker Loann Goujon could make his France debut if he comes off the bench.

France: Scott Spedding, Yoann Huget, Mathieu Bastareaud, Wesley Fofana, Teddy Thomas, Camille Lopez, Rory Kockott; Alexandre Menini, Guilhem Guirado, Rabah Slimani, Pascal Pape, Yoann Maestri, Thierry Dusautoir (capt), Damien Chouly, Bernard Le Roux. Replacements: Benjamin Kayser, Uini Atonio, Eddy Ben Arous, Romain Taofifenua, Loann Goujon, Morgan Parra, Remi Tales, Remi Lamerat.

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