Imanol Harinordoquy's favourite saying is 'live until you die; until then don't panic' which is reflected in his play on the pitch - making the most of it and remaining calm while others around him have lost their heads.
The 31-year-old No.8, who plays for Biarritz, is first and foremost a Basque, but he has also sweated blood for France when he has donned the national strip.
His dedication to the French cause has seen him win almost 70 caps since making his debut in 2002 - while at Pau - and has been an integral member of three Six Nations Grand Slam winning sides.
However, the amiable and engaging son of a cattle trader has yet to appear in let alone win a World Cup final - having been beaten by bitter rivals England in the last two semifinals.
Thus he is dead set on setting that record straight as he embarks on what he understandably believes will be his last World Cup campaign.
"It is a competition that I have never won, even though I have played in two," he said.
"I know that there won't be three more World Cups for me.
"I am going to bring my vast experience to the squad, and hope to go as far as possible.
"There is enormous determination within the group and we are moving forward as a unit."
Harinordoquy, who is as fearless off the pitch taking on the bulls of Pamplona, has been accused in the past of taking his foot off the gas when there is not much at stake, but bouncing back when France needs him most.
He feels extra responsibility with regards to his fellow squad members as they head out to New Zealand and is intent on restoring pride in French rugby badly dented by the record loss on home soil to Australia and the shocking first Six Nations defeat to Italy.
"I feel that I have a lot of responsibility, as much during the preparations than at the World Cup itself," said Harinordoquy, who has won two French titles with Biarritz and reached two European Cup finals.
"I do not want to let this chance slip, as it has already happened to me twice, thus I want to help the others to set the record straight after the difficult year we have experienced.
"It is imperative that everybody, especially the young, takes account of the fact it is a World Cup, that it goes very quickly and there may not be others in their careers.
"Personally, I still have regrets concerning 2007 and I want us to bring all our strengths together in order not to lose to a weaker team than us.
"That is exactly what happened in the semi-final against England and I still have nightmares over it."
Harinordoquy, a keen supporter and competitor of the 'Force Basques Games which involves milk churn carrying and an inter village tug of war contest, would be delighted were it to be England they ended up beating to claim their first Webb Ellis trophy.
For while he acknowledges that England has taught the French useful things about rugby he finds them 'arrogant and dismissive'.
"The English try to pull you off your game more than any other side," he told the Daily Telegraph earlier this year.
"They know us so well, say things to try to make us crack."
There is every chance that should the seedings work out the two sides will meet in the quarter-finals and afford Harinordoquy the chance for revenge.
"England have blocked our route in two World Cups and I don't forget things like that."
Even if they do exact revenge it is unlikely to be sufficient consolation for their emblematic Basque should they fail to return with the trophy.
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