Emotional return for Hueber
February 29, 2000
Ten years after his first cap and five years after his last, French scrumhalf Aubin Hueber is making an emotional comeback to international rugby union against Scotland on Saturday.
"I've cried twice in my life because of rugby. The first time was when I was not picked to play in the 1995 World Cup semifinal," he said.
"The second was on Sunday, when I was told I was selected to play against Scotland."
The 32-year-old Toulon player said he was aware he owed this late call-up for the Six Nations match in Edinburgh to the absence through injury of first-choice scrumhalf Fabien Galthie.
"But I mean to be proud of that cap. I know what it means to be selected, I don't want to blow it," he said.
Hueber, who had 20 caps before he was forced to live for five years in the shadow of Guy Accoceberry, Philippe Carbonneau and Galthie, said he never felt frustrated.
"I've never questioned the coach's choices. I was not picked because other players were better than me. That's the rule of the game," he said.
"But I've always remained France's number one fan. I nearly went crazy in front of my television when we beat the All Blacks in the World Cup semifinals."
Hueber may well be paired with Gerald Merceron, a flyhalf with whom he played for two seasons in Toulon.
Asked if he felt rugby union had changed a lot since his last cap, he said he felt familiar with the new style of play imposed at international level.
"In 1992 with Toulon we relied on fine kicking, tackling, defensive pressure, and we were criticised for it.
"It's now become the rule so I know this system well. But obviously it's faster and more intense at international level," he said.
"I never gave up. I always believed that one day I would be called back. I worked hard with my club. I never cheated."
But Hueber, who said he had studied most international games played in the past few seasons on video, admitted he was making his return at a difficult time.
"We meet Scotland at the worst possible time. They have just lost two matches away. They owe a revenge to their home fans," he said.