Veteran Biarritz forward Imanol Harinordoquy admitted he was relieved to be among the France squad unveiled by new coach Philippe Saint-Andre for this year's Six Nations despite a left knee injury.
The 31-year-old said he had been awaiting the squad selection "with great apprehension" particularly as he had not played for the past few weeks after taking a knock in the European Cup.
"I'm very happy to be part of the group because you're never sure of anything, above all because I wasn't sure where I stood since I hadn't played the last few matches with Biarritz," he explained.
"Obviously I'm proud to be there among the group because I want to continue the adventure with the France team. My aim is to go on until the World Cup in 2015 if everything goes well."
Saint-Andre kept faith with the 22 members of the squad that reached the World Cup final last year and named Harinordoquy among a 30-strong side to prepare for the Six Nations tournament.
"I know it's not the definitive list for the tournament but I'm very happy to be on it," Harinordoquy continued.
"I also know that it's a long road and that it's already a first step even if it's a group of 30 and that obviously for the first match of the Six Nations there will be 23 players.
"I'm excited by the chance to work with a new staff, with a new approach. It's always motivating for a player to change his habits and not fall into a routine."
"I looked a bit at the lineup and the coaches have relied quite heavily on the group who played the World Cup.
"That will allow for a continuity and obviously to build it's easier as we all know each other already.
"It will allow us to continue in a positive fashion because even if we didn't win the final, in the final stages something happened in the group. Our game became automatic, there was a certain cohesion.
"I think that can help to kick the tournament off knowing that for the first match we'll only have three or four days to prepare. We'll need to get down to work and knowing each other well will help us."
France lost 7-8 to the All Blacks in the World Cup final last year.
Their Six Nations opener is against Italy at Stade de France on February 4.
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