Chabal keen to shed "impact player" tag
February 12, 2009
Sebastien Chabal is keen to prove that he has more to offer than simply an impact from the bench © Getty Images
France lock Sebastein Chabal has signalled his intent to break clear of the tag "impact player" despite being dropped to the bench for this weekend's Six Nations match-up with Scotland at the Stade de France.
Chabal has made 20 replacement appearances in a 43-cap international career, and has in the past been used to great effect in the latter stages of Test matches. His work-rate came under scrutiny during last weekend's 30-21 loss to Ireland, with many criticising the small number of rucks that he had an impact at.
"I have never considered myself an 'impact player'," he said. "When I am on the bench, it is clear that I bring gas and penetrative qualities when I come on. But when I start a match, I am also picked for the same reasons. The most important thing is that I remain in the squad."
Chabal's place against Scotland has been taken by Toulouse lock Romain Millo-Chluski, who links up with skipper Lionel Nallet. Both players are seen to be more willing to get involved at the breakdown than Chabal, but the Sale star believes he offers a different style to his counterparts.
"It's true that I am not seen as much as Lionel or Romain in the obscure work but I do other things they don't do," said the 31-year-old. "People have a go at me for not doing the work of a lock but what is a second-rower today? That is the question. It is a little between a prop who must devote himself to the thankless tasks and a back-rower. I am a mix of the two. I am quite satisfied with what I did on the pitch (against Ireland). I know I can do better in certain aspects - nothing is ever perfect."
Chabal is now part of a French squad that is looking to inject more of an attacking balance into their game than in recent seasons, a trial and error process that has heaped pressure on coach Marc Lievremont.
"We have the means and the team to win games but we have made a few mistakes in certain areas," said Chabal. "The team is growing little by little. We are asking for time but it is a while since we won an important match. I understand that the public and the press are starting to become impatient but we know where we are going."
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