Ospreys centre Andrew Bishop ready to face Toulouse star Gael Fickou
ANDREW Bishop will be on red alert for rising French star Gael Fickou when the Ospreys visit Toulouse in the Heineken Cup of Saturday.
Bishop could go head to head with the teenage centre, who is making waves across the channel, when Steve Tandy’s side resume their European campaign at Stade Ernest-Wallon.
Fickou has been compared to Jeremy Guscott because of his pace and balance, and heralded as rugby’s next global superstar.
“I’ve seen bits of footage of him,” said Bishop.
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“He’s obviously got a lot of pace. You could see that from the try he scored against Leicester.
“He’s typically French, an attacking player, and I will have to keep my eye on him at the weekend.
“I’d rather come up against someone who runs straight and hard. So it’ll be a different challenge from the one I faced in Leicester against Manu Tuilagi.
“I’ll have to do a bit more video work on him, see what his strengths are and we’ll see how it goes.
“I’ve played against world-class players in the past and done all right, so we’ll see what happens this weekend.”
Fickou is just one threat posed by a glittering Toulouse back division, but Bishop insists the Ospreys can also cause their hosts problems.
“Their back division has to be up there with the best in world rugby, with flair to create opportunities out of nothing,” he said.
“That isn’t to say there will not be chances — we’ll be looking to have a go at them. Florian Fritz is a good defender, but if there are chances we’ll be looking to exploit them.
“We are confident. We’ve had a look at them and there’s no reason why we can’t go out there and win or get something.
“The build-up hasn’t been great but we are used to it now, boys going away and coming back. In the past we have struggled a bit but we have learned how to deal with it over the years.”
The Ospreys are third in Pool 2 after beginning their campaign by beating Treviso before losing to Leicester.
They were defeated 39-22 at Welford Road in October, but Bishop reckons there will be plenty more twists and turns before the group is decided.
“We’d always be going out there trying to win. It was disappointing not to come away with anything from Leicester,” he said.
“But they have to come back down to us. It’s a tough group. I don’t think it’ll be a pool where one loss will knock you out.
“First and foremost we want to at least match Toulouse up front. Set-pieces will be a huge focus for us — we have to look after our own ball and secure field position.
“If we do that, perhaps we’ll play a bit. But we have to take them on physically.”