Gaël Fickou has been one of the stars of the 2021 Championship and a vibrant display against Scotland saw the French flyer earn this year’s final Guinness Six Nations Player of the Match award.
The 27-year-old lined up on the wing for the first time in this campaign, having started at inside centre in France’s previous four matches, but the change in position had no effect on his influence.
He was a key man in the closing stages of France’s dramatic win over Wales and quickly continued on from where he left off, winning his side an early penalty and beating Stuart Hogg to a high ball inside the opening 10 minutes.
When given the opportunity to roam with ball in hand, Fickou did not disappoint. He embarked on a series of eye-catching runs over the course of the 80 minutes and made a remarkable 101 metres from just six carries, beating two defenders in the process.
Perhaps the highlight came early in the second half as the Stade Français star got his legs pumping and gained 20 metres to take France to the verge of the Scottish line – only for the stubborn visitors to hold out and win a penalty.
Scotland seal last-gasp win in France as Wales become champions
Solid defensively, Fickou was successful with all 11 of his tackles and can consider himself unfortunate to have ended the evening on the losing side courtesy of Duhan van der Merwe’s last-gasp try.
Reflecting on his side’s first home defeat against Scotland since 1999, Fickou said: “There were some good things, we can’t throw everything away, we don’t have to question everything.
“We were chasing the title, perhaps we got mixed up in some areas, we maybe wanted to score too quickly, we didn’t finish our attacks.
“They held onto the ball well, they went through 50 phases, we were rushed, we wanted to score the 21 points. In the end, that cost us dear.”