Rugby

Parra to make surprise return

2014-01-09 16:30
Morgan Parra (Gallo Images)

Clermont-Ferrand - Morgan Parra will make a surprise return to action against Harlequins in the European Cup on Saturday, his Clermont head coach Vern Cotter said on Thursday.

The France scrum-half had not been expected to return to action until the end of the month due to a knee injury suffered in late November.

Parra, 25, had ruptured his cruciate knee ligament and was expected to be out from between 10 and 12 weeks but he is now set to make his comeback after just seven weeks of absence.

It is welcome news for New Zealander Cotter who saw third choice scrum-half Thierry Lacrampe ruled out of the match in midweek due to a knee injury suffered against Toulouse on Sunday.

It would have left Ludovic Radosavljevic as Clermont's only fit scrum-half for the crunch Pool 4 clash that Clermont cannot afford to lose, or risk being knocked off top spot.

"He is ready to start the match. He's been progressing quickly and we knew it would be possible (for him to play) this week or next week," said Cotter.

"As he's at 100 percent, he'll start. He has, of course, passed all the necessary tests, so for me, that's the green light.

"It's important to recover our playmaker, Morgan is very important to our system. After Thierry's injury last week, it's obviously a good thing."

Clermont lead Quins by three points in the group, with only the winners guaranteed of reaching the European Cup quarter-finals.

The Vulcans end their pool campaign at home to Top 14 rivals Racing-Metro next week while Quins finish with a trip to Llanelli to face Scarlets.

The news will also be a boost for France ahead of the Six Nations which begin next month.

Parra, who is a key figure in the French set-up, not least for his kicking ability, was not included in a 30-man squad for a training camp due to begin on January 19.

France coach Philippe Saint-Andre had indicated on Monday when announcing his squad that Parra would not be available until the week before that February 1 match, but this news may now cause him to re-think.

Read more on:    clermont  |  heineken cup  |  morgan parra  |  rugby
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