Toulon scrum-half Serin eyes 'more game time' with France


Toulon (France) (AFP)

Baptiste Serin has set his sights on more game time for France after having played just 16 minutes in four Six Nations matches before the tournament was put on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Toulon scrum-half could only look on as Toulouse counterpart Antoine Dupont carried on his sublime club form in a les Bleus jersey, fast becoming a vital cog as France notched wins over England, Italy and Wales before losing to Scotland.

Their closing match against Ireland was postponed by the COVID-19 outbreak, along with Wales v Scotland and Italy v England from the final weekend, as well as Ireland's round 4 match against Italy.

"I try not to pose too many questions as regards my game time," Serin told AFP in an interview.

"I tried to transform all that frustration and lack of game time that they gave me into individual and group motivation.

"Everybody wants to play a lot. I don't hide that, I'm disappointed to have come back with so little time on the paddock."

Serin, who has resumed non-contact training with Toulon, added: "The coaches know it, there's nothing to hide.

"I'll work to get more game time because the France team is my goal.

"Of course, I am just one piece in the puzzle, but what player plays without having the ambition of being number one?

"The day when I no longer have that ambition is the day I stop."

- 'Disappointed and sad' -

Dupont was also preferred to Serin in what turned out to be France's key game at last year's Rugby World Cup, starting at nine in the dramatic one-point loss to Wales in the quarter-final, with Serin getting a seven-minute run-out.

Serin didn't play in France's opening win over Argentina, played 65 minutes of the easy victory over the United States, but was replaced by Dupont after 54 minutes in the narrow victory over Tonga. The crunch pool match against England was cancelled because of a typhoon.

Serin admitted that he had spoken to Toulon coach Patrice Collazo on a regular basis during the Six Nations about his seemingly entrenched role of replacement for Fabien Galthie's France XV.

"Collazo was disappointed and sad for me," Serin told AFP. "He wanted me to be playing more.

"He was also scared that it would impact me on my return to Toulon. When I went with the France team, I was managing to do quite a bit with Toulon, we were walking a bit on water.

"I expected to have a lot more playing time. But at the end of the day, it's not me who decides."