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Flawless Flood ready for 'world class' France backline

14 February 2011

  • In form Toby Flood speaks to after stellar performance against Italy
  • Fly half on 'world class' France, tactical kicking and Youngs partnership

England and Leicester Tigers fly half Toby Flood slots a kick against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations

Photo: Getty Images

England fly half Toby Flood is in the best form of his international career but knows France will test him to the limit in the next RBS 6 Nations match at Twickenham on Saturday, February 26 (5pm).

After kicking five from five in the opening win over Wales, the Leicester Tigers No.10 slotted took his tally to 11 consecutive kicks with five conversions and a penalty in the 59-13 win over Italy.

But kicking stats only tell half the story, with Flood’s game management and numerous line-breaks creating try-scoring opportunities, such as Chris Ashton’s openers at both the Millennium Stadium and Twickenham.

The 25-year-old was pleased with his performance against Italy but knows France’s ‘world class’ backs will present a much sterner challenge.

Speaking to, he said: "We’re content with where we are, we’re in a good spot after the first block [of two games] but we know next week is massive.

"Certainly there are areas we can improve on, such as kicking poorly or making bad decisions out of our own half but that is a great thing because if we win a game and there’s still 10 or 15 per cent to come from this side we’re in a good position.

"What’s coming round the corner is a huge Test match against a side that is playing very well, they look outstanding so things will be very different against France.

"You don’t dwell on the fact that Italy was a big score and think we can repeat it against France because it’s a different entity and they’ve got world class players littered among their squad."

Tactical kicking needs to improve for France – Flood

England and Leicester Tigers fly half Toby Flood in action against Italy in the RBS 6 Nations

Photo: Getty Images

According to 37-cap Flood, one specific area of England’s game that needs to be improved after the Italy win is tactical kicking.

Gifting possession back to the opposition, without pressure, will cause problems against France as Flood considers their backs to be the world’s leading outfit.

He said: "We certainly can’t kick like that with the back three France have – they’ve probably got the best back six or seven in the world with the changes they can make and the personnel they have around the set-up.

"We’ll tidy that up and make sure we work on it during our week without a game and come the following Monday we’ll be in a position to improve and get it right."

Blossoming international partnership with Youngs

England and Leicester Tigers half back pair Ben Youngs and Toby Flood celebrate in the Premiership

Photo: Getty Images

Leicester Tigers half-back partners Flood and Ben Youngs have now started eight consecutive games for England and are reproducing their Premiership winning domestic form on the international stage.

Flood paid tribute to the impact 21-year-old Youngs has had on England’s running game and said he has the ability to make opposition players look not as good as they are, which conversely gives Flood the chance to shine.

"The running all comes from him to be honest," Flood added.

"I know what he does, I know how he runs across the pitch and tries to drag a person in. So I just try to be ready to run when he goes.

"It’s nice to get a clean break and put Ashy in a couple of times but it’s all down to Youngsy bouncing out and making people look not as good as they are.

"He’s got the ability to do that and I just have to bide my time and hopefully just hit a hole."