From standout tries to club moves, Kit Shepard has the lowdown on the Racing back
Who is Gael Fickou: Ten things you should know about the France centre
Gael Fickou is among France’s most experienced current players.
The centre, who can also be deployed on the wing, has an accomplished all-round game defined by tough tackling and powerful running.
Ten things you should know about Gael Fickou
1. Gael Fickou was born on 26 March 1994 in La Seyne-sur-Mer, a suburb of Toulon. He grew up a Toulon supporter and played youth rugby for the Riviera club.
2. His father is from Senegal, where Fickou has visited regularly, while his mother is originally Algerian and emigrated to France during the Algerian War. Fickou has credited his multicultural upbringing for helping him achieve success.
3. He was released by Toulon in 2012, aged 18, and was immediately signed by Top 14 champions Toulouse.
4. Fickou enjoyed a dream Heineken Cup debut in October 2012 against Leicester.
With half-time looming, he picked up a loose ball on halfway, kicked forward and gave Europe an early glimpse of his pace by regathering and finishing. It was the standout moment in Toulouse’s 23-9 win.
5. He made his Test debut against Scotland in March 2013 aged 18 years and 355 days, making him France’s tenth-youngest international and their second-youngest of the professional era, behind only Christopher Tolofua.
6. His first international try, against England in the 2014 Six Nations, was dramatic.
With les Bleus trailing 24-19 and under four minutes remaining, replacement Fickou cut inside the English cover defence and ran in under the posts. The poised finish gave France a memorable 26-24 triumph at the Stade de France.
7. One of six children, Fickou is particularly close to his elder brother Jérémie, who encouraged him to pursue rugby over football.
The pair are co-presidents of childhood club US Seynoise and have also dabbled in the restaurant business, helping renovate Le Père Louis in La Seyne-Sur-Mer in 2020.
8. Fickou was central to France’s vital win over Argentina in their 2019 Rugby World Cup opener. He scored a try and was Player of the Match as his nation edged past the Pumas 23-21.
9. After watching Fickou at U18 level in 2012, then Wales defence coach Shaun Edwards wrote in The Guardian: “I’ve seen the future and it runs, tackles, scores tries and is called Gael Fickou.”
Eight years later, having swapped Wales for France, Edwards made Fickou his defensive captain.
10. After six seasons with Toulouse, Fickou moved to Stade Français in 2018, with Stade paying a reported €700,000 (£610,000) to terminate his contract a year early.
He moved again in April 2021, this time across Paris to Racing 92.
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