He might have only nine caps to his name and still only be 23-years-old but Yacouba Camara is already establishing himself as one of France’s lynchpins.
The flanker has been Les Bleus’ standout operator across the first three games of this year’s Championship – culminating in a man of the match display against Italy in Marseille.
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The Montpellier back-rower missed the autumn with ankle ligament damage but slowly but surely looks to be hitting his peak in time for Le Crunch this weekend.
Never before has Camara played England at senior level, and the flanker will hope he can continue to lead by example – as his modest words imply.
“Has my status changed? No, that’s not the way it’s going to work,” he said.
“You have to get a lot of selections to consider having a big place in this group. In my place, we already have leaders, of course, when I have something to say, I do not hesitate, but I prefer to stay in my corner, to listen and to always learn.”
But his form is undeniable – showcasing every facet of the modern day flanker with his performances so far.
No one has made more than his six offloads so far in the entire Championship, he leads Les Bleus for lineout takes with ten – fifth overall – and has also chipped in with 37 tacklers, 28 carries and four defenders beaten.
His lineout steal on his own try-line just after half-time against Italy was a thing of beauty, and his battle at the front of the lineout with Maro Itoje this weekend will make for compelling – and athletic – viewing.
The duo have faced off at age-group level before but now Camara is no longer an unknown quantity.
“It’s coming. I feel good in this team. I am rediscovering my form after my injury. It’s getting better and better. And when you feel good in your body and in your head, it works,” he added.
“I am very happy that the coaches have confidence in me, I am doing my best and I am trying to be better every time I take the field to show that they can count on me.
“When I look back on the games so far, it’s a real shame. That match we lost to Ireland, then in Scotland we had a good first half and went to sleep. It has been cruel but the match against Italy was positive, even with some imperfections.
“Now Le Crunch awaits us – now we will really find out where we are at as a team and how we stack up.”