France

Dusautoir excited by fresh challenge

Sun, 27 Jan 2013 16:36
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I am swept up by this challenge
Quote-end

Former France captain Thierry Dusautoir is looking forward to the challenge of proving he is worthy of inclusion in the 23-man squad for next weekend's Six Nations opener with Italy.

The 31-year-old Toulouse flank - capped 54 times but who missed the three end-of-year Tests because of injury and has been replaced as captain by veteran lock Pascal Pape - is in the 32-man squad which will be trimmed down to 23 on Monday evening for next Sunday's match.

"I am happy to be here with the squad and to be in top form," said Dusautoir, a veteran of the last two World Cup campaigns, captaining the French to the 8-7 defeat by the All Blacks in the 2011 final.

"The last time I was with them, I was injured.

"It is imperative that I demonstrate all over again I deserve being in the squad, it is something I find stimulating.

"We are competitors after all, having doubts cast over you is part of the job.

"Today, I am swept up by this challenge. Just like a young rookie, I am going to work hard to get back into the France team."

The Ivory Coast-born Dusautoir, known as the 'Dark Destroyer' since his epic performance in the 2007 World Cup quarterfinal victory over the All Blacks, said having only returned to the pitch in December, after suffering a right knee injury in October, he had to work hard to regain his sharpness.

"I have managed to do that. When one comes back from an injury, there is always a little doubt in your mind. Happily it wasn't a serious injury, and I was able to recuperate sufficiently.

Dusautoir, who has played three games since making his return, said he had not been too upset by coach Philippe Saint-Andre's decision to appoint Pape captain.

"I took it calmly. I have spoken about it to Pascal, there is no problem," he said.

"I will be supportive of him and will do the utmost that everything goes well.

"My function now is different. I will focus on performing well and to earn my place on the pitch."

AFP

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