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Fickou the French savour?

Thu, 13 Mar 2014 11:49
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French coach Philippe Saint-Andre has called back teenager Gael Fickou as one of four team changes for the decisive Six Nations clash with Ireland.

The 19-year-old Toulouse centre scored the dramatic late try that beat England and Saint Andre will need his aggressive talent in the battle for a victory on Saturday, while the Six Nations crown is still mathematically open.

Fickou is considered one of the most dangerous players of his generation, but he has generally been used as a replacement by Saint Andre.

"He is in form, he is fast," said Saint Andre.

"We need to see his talent on show from the start."

Fickou will team up with Mathieu Bastareaud in the charge for points after France managed only a close 19-17 victory over Scotland last weekend.

Saint Andre has also brought back Remi Tales, 29, in place of Jules Plisson to reinforce France's defence.

Dimitri Szarzewski comes back as hooker in place of Brice Mach and Louis Picamoles also returns after he was dropped against Scotland for an indifferent display against Wales.

Ireland, England and France are level on points but Ireland and England have a far superior points scored record.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Mathieu Bastareaud, 12 Gael Fickou, 11 Maxime Medard, 10 Remi Tales, 9 Maxime Machenaud, 8 Damien Chouly, 7 Alexandre Lapandry, 6 Louis Picamoles, 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Pape (captain), 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Dimitry Szarzewski, 1 Thomas Domingo.
Replacements: 16 Guilhem Guirado, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Alexandre Flanquart, 20 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 21 Wenceslas Lauret, 22 Jean-Marc Doussain, 23-Maxime Mermoz.

Date: Saturday, March 15
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Kick-off: 18.00 (17.00 UK time; 17.00 GMT)
Referee: Steve Walsh (Australia)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Marius Mitrea (Italy)
TMO: Gareth Simmonds (Wales)

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