Mohamed Haouas rewriting his story will complete an uncommon circle when he storms the pitch of the Stade de France on Sunday to play for Les Bleus against England in the Six Nations.
Mohamed Haouas, 25, tighthead prop, called ‘Momo’, was known for hitting during her teenage years. He was arrested for a couple of break-ins and robberies of corner shops. Haouas lived for five years under the judicial watch. His passport, however, was confiscated and his entire activities closely monitored.
Mohamed Haouas landed in rugby when he was 15, he then heed to advice asking her to join the youth set-up at Top 14 club Montpellier.
Mohamed Haouas stood 1.85m (6ft 1in) and weighs in at a hefty 127kg (20st). He cuts an imposing figure and even won international military honors in 2017 after joining the French Navy.
Haouas made his Top 14 marks in the following season, beginning with 13 games in the first six months, playing with some big international players, including South African rugby giants.
“I don’t care about the past. What’s important for me is the player I’ve met. He’s a very respectful bloke, always on time for every meeting,” said France forwards coach William Servat.
Mohamed Haouas got integrated into the squad quickly
“He integrated very quickly into the squad: he’s funny and the guys like being with him and know he’s a courageous bloke.
“He’s an incredible listener and takes part in everything. As for his performance, we’ll see afterward. That’ll be another thing. We’ll wait until we get to the match, but it’s a pleasure to have this player around,” Servat added.
Servat said visiting his club had led him to get to know Mohamed Haouas better than he use to know him.
“I went four times to Montpellier, I met him, we exchanged numbers, but I didn’t discover him or re-discover him.
“He’s the forward at Montpellier who has the best stats for movement and activity during a match. He has a profile of a tight-head prop capable of catching a back who has broken the line.”
Mohamed Haouas, while mobile, can also be impetuous.
There was television footage of him punching teammate Bismarck du Plessis, the Springbok hardman far from a shrinking violet himself – minutes before the kick-off of a league game went viral.
The entire story doesn’t make a difference to France head coach Fabien Galthie, who says he welcomes “players who emerge from a different, more complicated development scheme. We picked players because they are performing well, at their clubs and at training,” he added.
Haouas is preferred to Lyon’s Demba Bamba, who’s on the bench to cover for injured Toulouse’s Dorian Aldegheri.
“At the position of tight-head prop we lacked certainty. We had to make a choice between two players (Haouas and Bamba) who have very little experience. We asked ourselves questions. We’ll have the answer on Sunday. One thing is clear: with Mohamed Haouas, it will be direct.” Galthie said.