Maxime Lucu knows that he will have to bide his time for opportunities in the Guinness Six Nations but the France scrum-half is planning on making every second count.
Now 29, Lucu made his debut for Les Bleus against Georgia in the Autumn Nations Series and enters the 2022 Championship as second choice in the scrum-half spot in Fabien Galthié’s squad.
That in itself is quite a feat, considering the No.9 jersey is, alongside hooker, arguably France’s position of greatest depth.
The issue for Lucu is that the man ahead of him in the pecking order is Antoine Dupont, the current captain and 2021 Men’s World Player of the Year.
Still, Lucu has been in flying form with club side Union Bordeaux-Bègles, who lead the Top 14, and has overtaken the likes of Baptiste Couilloud and Baptiste Serin to back up Dupont – a job he takes very seriously.
He explained: “As soon as I am sent on, I try to follow the instructions of the coaching staff and add something to the team. I also want to be involved in this squad and in this Six Nations. So when I have the chance to play, I try to show that I too can represent my country.”
Lucu got his first taste of international rugby off the bench in France’s 41-15 win over Georgia, before also playing his part in the final moments of the resounding 40-25 success against the All Blacks.
And he revealed that the New Zealand success had inspired him in the build-up to the Championship.
He added: “Starting the season in form and getting to wear the France jersey for the first time against Georgia did me a lot of good. We had some great moments, notably the final match against the All Blacks. I rode the crest of the wave and it did me a lot of good. There was a lot of emotion.”