Skrela ready to step into limelight

David Skrela believes this year’s Six Nations Championship could enable him to finally make the transformation from seasoned club performer to a player of genuine international pedigree.

The Stade Francais fly-half was brought back into the France squad for the tournament, six years after his first – and at that time only – cap for his country.

Thankfully for Les Bleus, who have had no end of problems at number 10 over the past few years, he has fitted snugly back into the role and will make his third successive appearance when Wales come to the Stade de France on Saturday.

He remains typically level-headed, but admits he is starting to feel at home in the Les Bleus squad after strong displays in the victories against Italy and Ireland.

When asked whether he has surprised himself with his performances in the Six Nations, Skrela said: “More or less, because I did not really know what I was coming into.

“After these two matches, a lot of people have told me I have done well.

“I knew I could do good things but I was going a little bit into the unknown at international level. I have proved things to myself.

“This isn’t a revelation but it was important to show that I could play with this team.

“Before, I was a good club player. Now I am part of the squad. If things continue as they are, this Six Nations will perhaps have allowed me to have made that step up.”

The 27-year-old has established a strong partnership at half-back with Pierre Mignoni, who this weekend will also play for the third straight match in the Six Nations.

Skrela is not getting carried away, with either his own performances or that of the France team, and knows one bad game can wipe out all the optimism swirling round the squad at the moment.

“I am confident but it is important not to be too sure about yourself,” he added.

“It is necessary to find a middle ground and a good equilibrium.

“There is still competition. It has been the role of the captain this week to keep everybody’s feet on the ground.

“We have to put in the work after the victory in Dublin so we can win this weekend.”

Skrela points to the Welsh teams’ performances in this season’s Heineken Cup as a reason not to underestimate Gareth Jenkins’ side this Saturday.

Stade Francais had two tough games against The Ospreys in the group stages – drawing one game and winning the other narrowly – while another Welsh province, Llanelli Scarlets, have also impressed in the competition and comfortably made it through to the quarter-finals.

“We know what they are capable of doing with their unpredictable players. We have to deprive them of the ball,” said Skrela.

“With Stade, we played The Ospreys. And it was just as complicated for Toulouse, who lost twice to Llanelli. So we must be very careful.”

Skrela has been struck down with the flu this week, but should be fit for Saturday’s match.

365 Digital

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