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# hero worship
Gaël Fickou 'proud' to line-up against Brian O'Driscoll in his final game
The Toulouse teen will be partnered by Mathieu Bastareaud at Stade de France tomorrow.

FRANCE CENTRE GAEL FICKOU has joked he was probably in school when Brian O’Driscoll ran in a memorable hat-trick against Les Bleus in Paris.

O’Driscoll, who will retire from Test rugby after Saturday’s match, scored a trio of tries in Ireland’s 27-25 victory over France in 2000. Fickou, at the time, was aged five. He lines up in the France midfield tomorrow, against O’Driscoll, for his first Six Nations start.

“You have to start somewhere,” he joked. “I’m very happy to start against Ireland, I had been waiting for this occasion. I don’t want to overthink it, I’m just trying to focus on the job to do.”

Fickou, who scored off the bench in his team’s comeback victory over England, will partner Toulon’s bulldozer Mathieu Basatareaud. Their task is to keep O’Driscoll and Gordon D’Arcy as quiet as possible while providing forward momentum for the championship outsiders.

Fickou commented, “I will try to find my place in the team and give all I have. I am very proud to be able to play against Brian O’Driscoll for his last game. I have never faced him before, he will bring everything he has, and I’ll try to match up.” He added:

We’ll see if the age difference works in my favour or his. He is such a symbol, he is a leader on the field. He has skills, he is a great defender, he has it all and can do anything! I don’t think I should copy anyone in my learning process, but someone like O’Driscoll is undoubtedly a source of inspiration. I can only hope I’ll be at his level in fourteen years.”

Fickou has remained grounded despite the clamour for his inclusion in the French XV. He has been marked for stardom ever since he ran in a lightning quick, evasive try against Leicester Tigers in the 2012/13 Heineken Cup. “Playing in the Six Nations is a dream come true, but I need to keep working to have more and more game time, to start more often.”

“I feel ready,” he added. “As a competitor and a professional player, I play against international players every other week-end. But I understand the coach’s decision to keep me on the bench for a while.”

– Additional reporting by RBS Six Nations

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