Atonio ready to take his next chance

Date published: March 9 2016

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France tighthead prop Uini Atonio knows he needs to have greater self belief as he tries to establish himself in Guy Novès' side.

The La Rochelle star has been in action in all of les Bleus' Six Nations matches this year and started in their narrow victory over Ireland in Round Two.

Atonio has again been named in France's squad for this weekend's clash with Scotland at Murrayfield and is eager to prove that he isn't just an impact player off the bench.

"To start against a team like Ireland who are very strong in the set-piece, which is probably my weakness, was a sign of confidence from the coaches," he told Rugbyrama.

"Now I have to believe in myself. There are days when I say to myself I don't know if I'm ready but I need to be as ready to play 60 minutes as I am 30.

"I've got 13 caps but it's still the same. I'm here to be an impact player, to run into tired players and finish the game strongly.

"I'm trying to improve physically but I'm not a young player who is just arriving in the team any more. I've got to progress and help the new guys."

The 25-year-old was part of France's squad at last year's Rugby World Cup in England but only played in the pool stages against Romania and battled in the set-pieces.

However he believes he learnt a lot from that experience.

"It will stay with me forever," Atonio explained.

"It helped me a lot even if I did three months of preparation for 50 minutes of play. When you are in the stands watching the team concede 60 points, it's hard.

"But when you have the chance to play, you have to give it everything. If you don't get the chance, you have to be patient. There were two good props ahead of me at the World Cup.

"Now I think it's my chance to play as much as possible."

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