France's Fickou targets Six Nations 'pinnacle' with Scotland win

Illtud DAFYDD
·2-min read

France centre Gael Fickou said he is eyeing the "pinnacle" of a Six Nations title as they host Scotland on Friday.

Les Bleus need to score four tries or more and to win by 21 points in Paris to claim a first trophy since 2010 after Saturday's last-minute 32-30 victory over Wales.

Fickou's men have faced next week's visitors twice since Fabien Galthie took over as head coach following the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

They lost in last year's Six Nations before winning in November's Autumn Nations Cup.

"The pinnacle? I hope it will be next week," Fickou said.

"They have been playing well for a few years now. Recently we've found it hard against them. It's going to be difficult as we have to find enough points and win by enough to win the title," he added.

The away side will arrive with a full-strength squad after an agreement was made between English clubs and the Six Nations about releasing players.

The fixture has been re-scheduled from February 26 outside the Test window after a Covid-19 outbreak in the France set-up.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg, lock Jonny Gray and loose forward, who play for Exeter Chiefs are among those to benefit from the decision.

"We know it's going to be a tough match. But we'll take it step by step. Firstly, we have to win the game," Fickou said.

"They have superb players. We have to concentrate on the win and then see," he added.

- Red card specialists -

France lock Paul Willemse is a doubt for the match after being sent off for making contact with the eye of Wales prop Wyn Jones in the victory at the Stade de France.

Galthie said the Montpellier forward was innocent in the incident.

"I don't think he deserves a heavy sanction. I think he deserves leniency," Galthie said.

"When you look at the images for me there's no contact. If there is contact then it's minimal. It's definitely not intentional," he added.

Willemse became the third player to be sent off against Wales in this year's Championship.

"You see the way the Welsh are specialists in red cards, and can specialise in opposition red cards. They play their part and the Welsh body language," Galthie said.

"I don't see at what point Paul Willemse deserves to be sanctioned for doing that," he added.

Second-row Romain Taofifenua and fly-half Matthieu Jalibert left the field during the first half with injuries.

"Romain has a small knee sprain. Matthieu took a blow to the face. We preferred not to take risks. They're doing well," Galthie said.

Bordeaux-Begles' Jalibert was hit in the jaw by a stray Jonathan Davies elbow after half an hour.

"Everything's fine. Thanks for the messages," he posted on Instagram.

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