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After France beat Argentina by the narrowest of margins, England will be analysing both teams’ key strengths ahead of their World Cup meetings.
Gael Fickou proved his worth for France while Pablo Matera demonstrated character and resilience as his side almost snatched victory.
Gael Fickou (France)
For a 25 year-old nearing the 50-cap mark, to be seeking redemption may seem strange. But there has never been anything typical about Fickou’s rugby life since he burst onto the Test arena as an 18 year-old in 2013. In fact the Frenchman’s career - that startling early burst before somewhat fizzling out – echoed the rhythm of France’s narrow win over Argentina in Tokyo.
Fickou stamped his mark on France’s victory, scoring the opening try and making a statement of intent that would see him named player of the match. The panache with which he swivelled around Argentine defenders showed a player full of confidence in his position at inside centre. Yet there had been on-going debate about whether the player would be selected to start, let alone make such an impact on the game, and less than a month ago he had started on the wing in France’s final warm-up match against Italy.
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