Veteran France centre Aurelien Rougerie makes his return to competitive action after a long injury lay-off here on Saturday in the World Cup warm-up match with Ireland.
The 30-year-old, who has been capped 63 times and will be competing in his third World Cup, says his recovery process was made easier by previous long absences through injury.
He will undergo a stringent test against the Irish which will give the Clermont captain a good idea of how well he has recovered after breaking an ankle in the final match of the Top 14 regular season in May.
France coach Marc Lievremont handed the winger-turned-centre a vote of confidence by including him in the World Cup squad, although his knowledge of how to cope with the ennui of long-term injury has also helped.
"I have had the luck, if you can call it that, of already suffering serious long-term injuries," said Rougerie, whose career nearly came to a premature end in 2002 when he suffered a serious larynx injury after being deliberately struck by English hooker Phil Greening in a club match with Wasps.
"Therefore I knew what it took to come back."
Rougerie, whose dentist father Jacques won one cap for France at prop, is not exaggerating as his Six Nations campaign last year came to an early end after just five minutes of their opening match against Scotland with a shoulder injury, 12 months after he suffered a similar injury.
"Those are experiences which have served me well with this latest injury," said the floppy-haired blond pin-up.
"There are the highs and the lows, moments where you have to be patient, others where one is bursting with impatience and those where you need to know how to reason with yourself.
"Experience has played an important role."
Nevertheless Rougerie, who was an integral part of the France team that won the 2002 Six Nations Grand Slam and reached the 2003 World Cup semifinals, accepts his level of match fitness will not be the same as his team-mates on Saturday in the second of their matches with the Irish, who they beat 19-12 in Bordeaux last Saturday.
"I do risk being a little bit below the level of my teammates in terms of both physical fitness and stamina," said Rougerie.
"We will see at the end of the match how I feel," added the man who entered Clermont folklore last year when he captained them to their first ever national title.
Lievremont couldn't refrain from having a dig at the media and former players who had questioned why he had taken a risk on Rougerie and not included cover for him in the squad - though it could prove to be a pyrrhic victory if Rougerie suffers a reaction against the Irish.
"If we are to address the issue of our injured players, then we (the French coaching staff) have for the most part won our bet.
"I feel for those people who called us crazy."
Rougerie, though, takes no pleasure in proving anyone wrong, only that he anticipates a tough clash with the combative Irish, who are desperate to gain their first win in their warm-up matches following the defeat to France and an earlier 10-6 loss to Scotland.
"We know their qualities well, they have very good players in the centre especially Brian O'Driscoll, who will come out raring to go on Saturday.
"We also know their 'fighting spirit'."
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