From the Back Pages, February 2: Gael Fickou snatches victory for France

From the back pages
From the back pages

France 26 England 24: Astonishing. Simply breathtaking at times - a Six Nations epic decided with a try from the other end of the pitch with less than two minutes to run. (The Times)

Wales 23 Italy 15: History is still Wales’s for the taking but they made hard work of it in their opening Six Nations clash against Italy. (The Telegraph)

Ashley Giles is a strong candidate to succeed Andy Flower as England’s coach, the ECB chairman Giles Clarke said on Saturday. Flower stepped down on Friday following England’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash. The managing director Paul Downton will now take charge of the process of appointing a successor, and Clarke was generous but non-committal in his praise for Giles. (The Guardian)

Stoke City 2, Manchester United 1: After the euphoria and eloquence of a record signing, back to the bleak and prosaic reality of a season in which retaining a place in the Champions’ League is beginning to look a very forlorn hope for Manchester United. (The Independent)

Arsenal target Julian Draxler has told the German media that his move to the Gunners fell through because Schalke blocked the move. (The Mirror)

Manchester United suffered a huge setback to their top-four hopes as they lost to Stoke in a match that also saw Phil Jones lose consciousness following a clash of heads with Jonathan Walters. (Daily Mail)

SUNDERLAND manager Gus Poyet claims survival in the Premier League ‘is in our hands’ after a morale-boosting win over fierce rivals Newcastle at St James’ Park. (The Indpendent)