Things have certainly changed for Scott LaValla in this his second season for Stade Francais.
The USA flanker/lock has started virtually every game for Paris, as opposed to desperately trying to get playing time with the Top 14 club as was the case last season.
LaValla, who started playing with the Budd Bay U19 program in Olympia, Wash. as a freshman, and captained the USA U20s, signed a three-year extension with Stade last year.
This weekend, he starts again, donning the #6 jersey for Paris in their Top 14 league game against Grenoble.
LaValla told RUGBYMag.com he is not sure if the increase in playing time can be put down to one specific thing.
"I have a good relationship with my coaches and my team, and I'm happy to have had the chances that I have had in the last few weeks," he said. "Right now, I figure it's too early to gauge my standing with the team, as this is still only the third game of the season, and I'm mostly concentrated on doing the best I can each week to do my job, and to leave each day a little better. In three weeks time, it could be a different story, so for right now I'm looking to take my opportunities as they come, stay focused, and to stay professional."
LaValla has played lock, flanker and No. 8 for the USA, but seemed to nail down the openside flanker position with the Eagles in June. With Stade, it's a little different. He is pared at flanker with Olivier Missoup, and they have been lining up at right flanker and left flanker, rather than openside and blindside. LaValla doesn't mind.
"So far, it's working pretty well," he said.
Note: Scott LaValla has captained every rugby team he has ever played for, except Stade Francais. He was the captain for Budd Bay, and later the Washington and Pacific Northwest select teams. He captained the USA U19s and U20s, and then his college team, Trinity in Ireland. And he has captained the USA, albeit in a non-cap match against Glendale last summer.