Fortune favours the brave…and Malzieu

Date published: February 4 2008

Julien Malzieu kicked off his international career with a bang, scoring on debut and helping France to a winning start in their Six Nations campaign.

Julien Malzieu kicked off his international career with a bang, scoring on debut and helping France to a winning start in their Six Nations campaign.

The Clermont winger played with the flair that typified the French performance as a whole and that was so lacking in the World Cup.

The French sports daily L'Équipe has labeled him as the “perfect symbol” of the up-beat spirit that currently reigns within the squad.

“We hoped things would go well, but we only really had five days to work together, and we didn't think it would go so well, ” he told the paper after France's 27-6 away win over Scotland.

“We've gained a lot of confidence and it bodes well for the future. We will be able to work serenely, fine tune some details in order to raise our game to another level.”

Malzieu's try came after Loïc Jacquet took a penalty quickly and Malzieu got a lucky bounce after chipping ahead.

The oval ball worked its magic later in the game again as Vincent Clerc also scored thanks to a fortuitous bounce.

“With luck, you have to know how to make your own, and this time it happened to work for me.

“I was told not to question myself, and I didn't. My team-mates told me all week not to let the pressure get to me, to play like I know how, and that's all I did.

“I took it like just another game of rugby.

“Of course I had all kinds of ideas in my head: Will it go well? Will I get any ball? So I'm actually quite relieved that it went the way it did, even if everything wasn't perfect. I really had fun.

“There weren't really any difficult moments. During the anthems though, when they sang Flower of Scotland, I said to myself : oulà, something's happening here. It lasted twenty seconds, then the match started.

“I went back into my bubble and when I received my first pass I took off from there.

“There are some errors that need to be worked on. We missed our touch kicks sometimes, we'll need to fix that.

“On the whole, things went our way. When I see my try, and Vincent Clerc's second, they were lucky.

“We only had a week to prepare, but with a bit of work, it fitted into place like a puzzle. That's really a positive point. With the style of play that we're trying to produce, us wingers know we're going to see a lot of the ball, its a delight.'

Much has been said about the new-found enthusiasm within the French squad, which Malzieu confirms:

“There is really an exceptional atmosphere in this group. Us young players have been integrated very well.

“I knew the French national team players because I've played against them from time to time, but I discovered a bunch of really open friendly guys. They've helped me a lot and I thank them.

The 24-year-old was disappointed by the weekend performances of both Scotland and Ireland, who France will face next Saturday,

“I thought [the Scots] would trouble us more, their style disappointed me a bit. Their moves weren't' very dangerous and they either lost the ball or kicked it back to us.

“I was expecting a team with more flair after what I saw at the World Cup.”

“[Ireland] didn't manage to produce much. I really think they need to come up with something new.

“But we'll see next week if I have the chance to be part of the team.”