Poitrenaud: I'm here to stay
France full-back Clement Poitrenaud is determined to cement his place at No.15 by impressing in the Six Nations.
Last Updated: 04/02/09 4:38pm
France full-back Clement Poitrenaud has signalled his intent on cementing his place at No.15 with a string of solid performances throughout the RBS Six Nations.
The 26-year-old has been in and out of the national side in recent years but will make his first start since the 2007 World Cup when France kick-off their campaign at Croke Park against Ireland on Saturday.
Poitrenaud was given a ringing endorsement by head coach Marc Lievremont on Tuesday when has was named in France's "best XV" to start their Six Nations opener in Dublin.
And the Toulouse star is now determined to snatch his chance with both hands and insists he won't relinquish the coveted No.15 jersey without a fight.
"I used to have this image of a dilettante lad and it's true that I didn't give my all in every match," he said.
"In growing up, I am more consistent and now, each time I go on the pitch, I give everything. Before I could be a little too cool.
"I've put in a lot more effort in terms of commitment - it's what allowed me to be picked for the last World Cup and it's what allowed me to return after injury (broken leg).
"It isn't easy to be a full-back for Toulouse, it isn't easy to convince (Toulouse coach) Guy Noves to play you, so if I've been playing since the start of the season, it's because I have been competitive.
"I feel good, and feel capable of playing at the highest level.
"The Heineken Cup matches have comforted me, and I have proved to myself that I could again play at this level. This is a personal victory for me."
A graceful runner with an eye for a gap, not only has Poitrenaud produced a string of eye-catching attacking performances for Toulouse, he has also become more reliable in defence.
And with France's new regime attempting to practise the same attacking game as Toulouse do, Poitrenaud is likely to feel at home with Les Bleus during this year's Six Nations.
"The staff's message is loud and clear," added Poitrenaud.
"They want enterprising players who try things, who won't be paralysed by the pressure or by the stakes. I adhere to that completely - at Toulouse, they demand the same from us.
"I don't want to bite the hand that fed me under Bernard Laporte, but it's clear that the talk has changed here and that's something that corresponds more to me.
"The most important thing is to go and enjoy myself. I am going to be able to try things with less pressure than in the past.
"But I can't expect there to be gaps everywhere - you must play the game depending on what's in front of you.
"I have a few caps, a bit of experience and I know the only thing that counts is what happens on the pitch."