Racing 92 confident French core will bring home Champions Cup

France’s commitment to slow influx of overseas players paying off with 12 Frenchmen to start final against Leinster

If England’s selection of Brad Shields and the accompanying controversy is a case study into the strained relationship between availability, eligibility and nationality in the modern game, spare a thought for the France full-back Scott Spedding.

The South Africa-born Spedding has 23 caps, he holds a French passport, has played in the country for a decade and was moved to tears live on camera when learning of his first call-up four years ago. He was not registered with the French federation for five years before the age of 23, however, nor did he spend three years in an academy, and is therefore not considered a JIFF (joueurs issus des filières de formation) – effectively a French-reared player.

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