Serge Betsen's form in the RBS 6 Nations Championship has seen him become one of Bernard Laporte's 'undroppables', but the France flanker admits he came into the tournament not knowing where his international future lay.
It seems unthinkable the 32-year-old, who has arguably been the stellar performer in this season's Championship, was not in Les Bleus' team for the November Tests.
Betsen did not even make the squad for the 47-3 hammering by New Zealand in the first Test in Lyon. He was then only on the bench for the remaining two autumn internationals - another defeat to the rampant All Blacks and a narrow win over Argentina.
All that after missing France's title-winning 2006 RBS 6 Nations campaign with a serious eye injury.
This season has been a different story, however, and having regained his place in coach Laporte's starting XV, he has caught the eye with barnstorming displays in the opening four games of the tournament.
His selection for Saturday's showdown with Scotland means he is one of only six players to have been picked for every match.
Betsen, who will retire from international rugby after the World Cup later this year, is surprised at the upturn in his fortunes.
'I missed last year's tournament because of the eye injury I picked up in the previous November so I didn't know how much I would play this year,' he said.
'I am very happy to keep getting picked, and to obviously have won back the confidence of the coaches.
'I still try to improve every game, and learn from my mistakes. It has ended up being a good tournament for me because at the start, I did not think I would play every game.
'I am surprised to be playing such a big part. But it is the last year for me, at least in international rugby, and I will do anything to finish my career in the best way possible.'
Betsen's next examination comes against the Scots at the Stade de France on Saturday when the RBS 6 Nations title will be decided.
Les Bleus, England and Ireland are all on six points after four games, so it looks as if it will come down to points difference.
France and the Irish are in the box seat in that regard. And with Eddie O'Sullivan's men playing first - in Rome against Italy - Betsen and co will know before kick-off against Scotland what they have to do to defend their trophy.