Saint-Denis (AFP)

A winger is not his favorite position.

But Gaël Fickou did more than help out, drawing on his experience and his solidity to contribute to the success of the XV of France against Ireland (35-27), Saturday at the Stade de France.

A decisive pass for Antoine Dupont (7) and a finely chiseled lob at the foot of another attempt made by Ntamack (44): not bad for a player who was not playing in his usual place.

"I rarely play a winger" but "if I have to help out I do it", he said before the meeting.

The center of the Stade Français, the most capped of the Blues at only 26 years old (57 caps) knows how to adapt to needs.

On Saturday, he first split the air currents of the Stade de France with a breakthrough on the left to put three Irishmen in the wind and serve inside the scrum-half Dupont.

Which definitely deserved his new nickname of Minister ... of the Interior.

At the start of the second period, the former Toulousain (2012-2018) was highlighted by deceiving the green defense with a skillful bell kick, which found Dupont (again) before the opener finished. Romain Ntamack.

Shifting Fickou from the center to the wing was ultimately comprehensive insurance even more than SOS breakdown service.

The coach Fabien Galthié had chosen to bet on his experience in Blue rather than start the novice of La Rochelle Arthur Retière (23 years).

The French had suffered on high balls against the Welsh last Saturday.

It was necessary to curb the game under pressure from the Irish hinge, made up of the very experienced Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton who accumulate 176 selections between them in the green jersey.

Especially since the France team still had a chance to win the Tournament.

- Several lives in Blue -

"Johnny Sexton uses his foot a lot (...) to put a lot of pressure either in a tense way or on very high foot play towards our wing," Galthié explained.

The opener of Leinster, passed by Racing 92 (2013-2015), posed problems for the French, who still suffered on air balloons.

But they found resources offensively through Fickou, who had already done the wing job during the Tournament.

In February, in Cardiff, he had replaced Vincent Rattez, injured, the Blues had won (27-23).

And Montpellier's Arthur Vincent had been associated with the center with Virimi Vakatawa.

Galthié had reused this alternative in March in Edinburgh with less success (defeat 28-17).

In Saint-Denis, "the notion of collective experience", favored by the coach, paid off.

Fickou, from time to time mistaken for Kylian Mbappé in the street, when he "does not look like him at all" in his words, has once again demonstrated his versatility.

In prison, he who has already lived several lives in Blues, yet still being far from thirty.

Selected for the first time in 2013, the native of Seyne-sur-Mer (Var) has already known four breeders.

Philippe Saint-André, Guy Novès, Jacques Brunel and therefore Galthié who praises his experience, often recalling that he is the most capped of this young team, 25 years old on average.

And knows how to use his troubleshooting skills.

© 2020 AFP