Flood at low ebb after double disappointment

TOBY FLOOD openly admits he is enduring a week from hell as England prepare to complete their failed RBS 6 Nations campaign.

But if triumph comes from adversity, do not be surprised if Flood leaves Twickenham on Saturday as the match-winner.

Suffering a calamitous Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland at the weekend was bad enough as England saw their Six Nations title hopes sunk in Murrayfield.

But Flood’s iconic Newcastle and England colleague Jonny Wilkinson was then dropped, before their club boss John Fletcher and the Falcons parted company.

Just for good measure, Flood is also facing up to the prospect of an operation — possibly this season — to rectify a knee cartilage issue.

Fletcher, Flood’s rugby mentor, exited Kingston Park while Falcons’ England contingent of Flood, Wilkinson, Jamie Noon and Mathew Tait were the best part of 300 miles away in Bath preparing to tackle Ireland.

To say 22-year-old Flood is furious over events at Kingston Park would be a huge understatement. His emotions have been seriously stirred.

Flood said: “It has been one of the worst weeks in my life, I have to admit.

“To lose to Scotland and then find out a few days later about a guy who I have played rugby for since I was 11-years-old and literally has followed me through my career, is just devastating.

“It is upsetting, and I know a lot of the guys at the club are very upset at what is going on.

“There is a huge kind of turmoil up there at the moment and a huge amount of anger.

“I think he (Fletcher) knew it was coming in the sense his relationship had broken down with the chairman.

“But we had no idea, and to find out was a huge shock.”

Meanwhile, France have named a new half-back partnership and left star back Cedric Heymans on the bench as they look to wrest the RBS 6 Nations Championship crown from the clutches of Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

The team looks arguably the strongest Les Bleus have put out all tournament, but as usual head coach Marc Lievremont has delivered a couple of surprise choices.

Heymans, who excelled in the early stages of the Six Nations before being rested for last weekend’s win over Italy, is unable to oust Anthony Floch at full-back on his return to the squad and must settle for a place among the substitutes.

And in the pack, Montpellier’s Fulgence Ouedraogo is retained despite the return to the squad of Clermont-Auvergne number eight Elvis Vermeulen, who must also be content with the bench.

Fly-half David Skrela comes in for Francois Trinh-Duc, who looked to have made the number 10 jersey his own after an impressive performance against the Italians. And he will combine with Jean-Baptiste Elissalde at half-back, with the Toulouse scrum-half having got the nod over Dimitri Yachvili, another stand-out performer on Sunday.

France (v Wales): A Floch (Clermont-Auvergne); V Clerc, Y Jauzion (both Toulouse), D Traille (Biarritz), J Malzieu (Clermont-Auvergne); D Skrela (Stade Francais), J-B Elissalde (Toulouse); F Barcella (Auch), D Szarzewski (Stade Francais), N Mas (Perpignan), L Nallet (Castres, capt), J Thion (Biarritz), T Dusautoir (Toulouse), F Ouedraogo (Montpellier), J Bonnaire (Clermont-Auvergne).

Italy (v Scotland): A Marcato (Benetton Treviso), K Robertson (Montepaschi Viadana), G Canale (Clermont-Auvergne), Mirco Bergamasco (Stade Francais), E Galon (Overmach Cariparma), A Masi (Biarritz Olympique), S Picone (Benetton Treviso); A Lo Cicero (Racing Metro Paris), L Ghiraldini (Cammi Calvisano), M Castrogiovanni (Leicester Tigers), CA Del Fava (Ulster), M Bortolami (Gloucester), J Sole (Arix Viadana), A Zanni (Cammi Calvisano), S Parisse (Stade Francais).

More in this section

CourtsRugbyPlace: TwickenhamPlace: MurrayfieldPlace: Kingston ParkPlace: BathPlace: IrelandPlace: WalesPlace: CardiffPerson: FloodPerson: Toby FloodPerson: Jonny WilkinsonPerson: John FletcherPerson: FletcherPerson: WilkinsonPerson: Jamie NoonPerson: Mathew TaitPerson: Cedric HeymansPerson: Marc LievremontPerson: HeymansPerson: Anthony FlochPerson: Fulgence OuedraogoPerson: Elvis VermeulenPerson: David SkrelaPerson: Francois Trinh-DucPerson: ItaliansPerson: Jean-Baptiste ElissaldePerson: Dimitri YachviliPerson: Y JauzionPerson: D TraillePerson: J MalzieuPerson: D SkrelaPerson: J-B ElissaldePerson: F BarcellaPerson: D SzarzewskiPerson: L NalletPerson: J ThionPerson: T DusautoirPerson: F OuedraogoPerson: J BonnairePerson: K RobertsonPerson: G CanalePerson: Mirco BergamascoPerson: E GalonPerson: APerson: L GhiraldiniPerson: M CastrogiovanniPerson: M BortolamiPerson: A ZanniEvent: Calcutta CupEvent: Six NationsEvent: RBS 6 Nations ChampionshipOrganisation: EnglandOrganisation: NewcastleOrganisation: FalconsOrganisation: Falcons’Organisation: FranceOrganisation: Les BleusOrganisation: ItalyOrganisation: MontpellierOrganisation: Clermont-AuvergneOrganisation: ToulouseOrganisation: WalesOrganisation: FlochOrganisation: BiarritzOrganisation: Stade FrancaisOrganisation: AuchOrganisation: N MasOrganisation: PerpignanOrganisation: CastresOrganisation: ScotlandOrganisation: MarcatoOrganisation: Benetton TrevisoOrganisation: Montepaschi ViadanaOrganisation: Overmach CariparmaOrganisation: Biarritz OlympiqueOrganisation: S PiconeOrganisation: Lo CiceroOrganisation: Racing Metro ParisOrganisation: Cammi CalvisanoOrganisation: Leicester TigersOrganisation: CA del FavaOrganisation: UlsterOrganisation: GloucesterOrganisation: Arix ViadanaOrganisation: S Parisse
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