Replacing cult hero Sebastien Chabal in the French Six Nations lineup would intimidate many players but Romain Millo-Chluski insists he will take it in his giant stride.
He was handed his fourth cap by coach Marc Lievremont this week taking over from Chabal for the visit of Scotland today.
Chabal, known as “The Caveman” for his long, flowing black hair and full beard, had moments of inspiration in France’s opening loss to Ireland but the feeling in the French camp was that he did not do enough in the the scrum and lineout allowing the Irish to dominate the pack.
Enter Millo-Chluski, who insists he has no objections to being described as a workhorse.
“I have great affinity for the more obscure areas of our sport,” the 28-year-old said. “I have no problem at all with people putting me into that kind of category.”
Millo-Chluski is used to battling hard to win his place in sides. He is not even an automatic choice at his club Toulouse where he has opposition of the highest order from top Argentine lock Patricio Albacete and from French legend Fabien Pelous who last year retired from international rugby.
Selection for the national side has been just as tough.
Millo-Chluski, who admits that he is a naturally “shy” character won his first cap against South Africa in July 2005.
He was then out of favor until last year’s Six Nations tournament, but had to withdraw from that due to injury and only won his way back in the autumn Tests against Argentina and the Pacific Islands Select before Chabal was recalled.
The path looks clear for Millo-Chluski to finally nail down a regular slot in Lievremont’s starting line-up.
He knows that he can give it his all from the start safe in the knowledge that Chabal will likely be brought on early in the second half against the Scots. The quiet man will then trudge off to take his place on the bench hopefully for him with a job well done.
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