Spedding: ‘France must be more patient’

Date published: August 16 2015

France full-back Scott Spedding has called on his side to not rush and "try something impossible" after losing to England.

Les Bleus scored a pushover try through Fulgence Ouedraogo to set up a relatively tense finish at Twickenham before losing 19-14.

France were outscored by three tries to one but did show promise in the scrum, which produced a number of penalties.

However the preference to kick away possession rather than keep the ball in hand and look for opportunities was frustrating not just for players and supporters alike, with France's best passing taking place dangerously back in their own 22.

"We have to work on keeping the ball and to be a little bit more patient," Spedding said.

"When we get go-forward ball we then try something impossible, either with a pass or we kick a bit too soon. We need to work on our patience.

"There were opportunities but we didn't finish them, so we have to work on that and take those chances when we're on top.

"We're making progress and trying things that we didn't do enough in the Six Nations. During the week we'll work on keeping the ball in hand and also looking after the ball in contact because we lost a few there."

After tough training camps in Tignes and Marcoussis it was understandable that France were a little off the pace in terms of their skills and excecution, as Spedding conceded.

"It's always difficult with the first game and with it being a few months since we played any rugby. There are positives but obviously we lost, although I think it's a start and there's lots to work on. 

"Physically I think we all felt good out there, just a bit rusty on the rugby. After six weeks of training the way we have, in terms of fitness we definitely felt good. That's just down to game-time – you can do as much training as you want but with another game next week I'm sure we'll get better with more minutes on the pitch.

"We've been through a lot together now. Just the fact that we have been beasted together in the sessions has brought us closer together as it's been tough for everyone.

"We've been encouraging each other and there really is a good spirit, so we hope our hard work pays off."

Spedding was impressed by England's new caps in the centres, noting the size of Sam Burgess made him tricky to contain.

"I know Sam has got a lot of pressure on him with plenty of build-up before the Test. He made some big hits and is obviously as massive presence out there on the field, just the size of the man is quite daunting.

"I thought he and Henry Slade had a good game on defence, they were solid, and created things in attack."

France have unquestionably struggled since the last World Cup to produce any consistency or suggest that they are on the cusp of a first Rugby World Cup win, but Spedding has been a shining light at full-back since making his debut last November.

His story in many ways is inspiring, with the South Africa-born Clermont player honoured to represent a country that has given him so much.

However, Spedding is hungry to be part of a successful French side, rather than simply piling up Test caps and defeats.

"It's a massive honour for me, because France is a country that has given me a lot," he stated.

"I arrived as a youngster with not a lot more than my backpack and nothing else, so to be playing for the national side means the world to me.

"But, I want to play for a successful France side, not just for France. We're not here just to play for France, we're here to win."

by Ben Coles