Lievremont pulls Parra surprise
France coach Marc Lievremont has sprung a selection surprise for Saturday's clash with New Zealand, naming Morgan Parra first five-eighth.
France coach Marc Lievremont has sprung a selection surprise for Saturday's clash with New Zealand, naming Morgan Parra first five-eighth.Parra has never donned the No.10 jersey at Test level, with all of his international experience coming at scrum-half.
The 22-year-old will become only the second player in World Cup history to earn starts at scrum-half and first-five – Tonga's Taniela Moa was the first last Wednesday – and only the sixth Frenchman to do so.
Parra admitted it was an intimidating prospect.
"I was surprised. We spoke a bit about it yesterday, but yes it was a surprise," he said. "I have to play the best I can without putting pressure on myself."
"It's always exciting to play against the All Blacks, especially in their backyard, but it will be a hard test."
Parra's shift forces regular No.10 Francois Trinh-Duc to the bench and Lievremont said it was a decision based on his indifferent form in France's first two matches.
"I thought about this long into the night, especially the decision about the halfbacks, which wasn't an easy one."
"Francois Trinh-Duc is paying the price a bit for the last two games, and Morgan has done very well when he's played."
Lievremont has named a full-strength French side that includes five personnel and two positional changes from Sunday's 46-19 win over Canada.
Hooker Dmitri Szarzewski makes his World Cup debut in place of William Servat, while lock Lionel Nallet and captain Thierry Dusautoir return in place of Romain Millo-Chluski and Fulgence Ouedraogo.
Centre David Marty also drops out of the 15 to make way for a switch in position, Aurelien Rougerie moving one out from second five-eighth to centre.
Dimitri Yachvili takes over Parra's scrum-half duties and Maxime Medard is picked on the left wing.
France face New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.