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Sports

Trinh-Duc returns for France rugby clash against England

media François Trinh-Duc and Gaël Fickou at the Six Nations Championship France vs Italy match last month REUTERS/Jean-Paul Pelissier

France coach Jacques Brunel on Thursday paid tribute to François Trinh-Duc's ruthlessness after the veteran fly-half was recalled to the starting line-up at the expense of Lionel Beauxis for Saturday's Six Nations clash against England at the Stade de France.

Brunel claimed the 31-year-old would make France more clinical in the final stages of the field following a spate of missed opportunities during the 34-17 victory over Italy two weeks ago.

"Trinh-Duc has trained well and we're hoping he will bring us that little extra we lacked because against Italy we were in their 22 metre area 15 times and only scored three tries. And that's not much."

"Against Italy Beauxis could perhaps have put more pressure on in the danger zones to finish off the chances that were presented."

Trinh-Duc, who has 64 caps, was initially omitted from Brunel's Six Nations squad. But an injury to Matthieu Jalibert in the 15-13 defeat to Ireland and the suspension of Anthony Belleau after the Scotland defeat led to the return to the bench.

"We train hard all year, all season to play in this match. The crunch is the pinnacle of the Six Nations for us," said Trinh-Duc. "I'm very happy and very satisfied. We're expecting a great match.

"The English will want to make up for their defeat to Scotland. It will be hard, rough, but we have qualities that we need to show. In rugby terms they play better than us.

"If we stop them playing, work hard at the breakdown, be aggressive in defence like Scotland did then we can make it difficult for them to impose their gameplan."

Trinh-Duc's last start for France came in November's 23-23 draw at home to Japan and he will line up next to Toulon teammate Mathieu Bastareaud. Brunel admitted the combination was a factor in his thinking.

"It was a difficult choice because on the whole Lionel met our expectations," said Brunel. "Trinh-Duc has more experience and then there's this association with Mathieu Bastareaud, which we hope will give us something extra. It was a difficult choice. It wasn't instant. It's just a feeling."

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