Rugby World Cup 2011

France stick with Parra at 10

2011-09-26 21:42
Morgan Parra (File)





Auckland - France coach Marc Lievremont has recalled hooker William Servat and No 8 Raphael Lakafia and retained Morgan Parra at flyhalf for Saturday's Rugby World Cup Pool A match against Tonga.

Regular scrumhalf Parra, who started a Test at No 10 for the first time in last Saturday's 37-17 loss to New Zealand, will again form a halves pairing with Dimitri Yachvili.

"Morgan impressed us in training all (last) week and with his performance against the All Blacks," Lievremont said on Tuesday morning (New Zealand time). "He's earned the right to play at No 10 again."

Lievremont made only three changes to the starting XV, with utility back Damien Traille, No 8 Louis Picamoles and Dimitri Szarzewski losing their places.

Francois Trinh-Duc stays on the bench, despite being France's regular flyhalf and scoring the second try as a replacement in Saturday's defeat.

"Francois is lucky enough to be in the squad, there are others who aren't," Lievremont said. "I want him to carry on showing his investment, and, if he comes on, to show the same attitude he did against the All Blacks."

Traille, who was critical of Lievremont for replacing him at halftime against the All Blacks, and No 8 Picamoles were excluded from the 22-man squad.

Left winger Alexis Palisson has recovered from a lower back injury and will make his World Cup debut for France. Palisson has scored two tries in 16 Tests.

Maxime Mermoz stays at center, while Maxime Medard switches from left wing to fullback to make room for Palisson. Right winger Vincent Clerc has played in every match so far and will look for his fifth try of the competition.

Cedric Heymans was replaced at fullback but named among the reserves.

Flanker Julien Bonnaire, one of France's better players against New Zealand and a threat in the lineouts, starts ahead of Imanol Harinordoquy, who drops to the bench alongside Szarzewski.

At the team announcement assistant manager Jo Maso sat alongside Lievremont, who was been under strain after two recent outbursts.

France needs to win in Wellington to guarantee a place in the quarter-finals.

Teams:

France:
15 Maxime Mdard, 14 Vincent Clerc, 13 Aurlien Rougerie, 12 Maxime Mermoz, 11 Alexis Palisson, 10 Morgan Parra, 9 Dimitri Yachvili, 8 Raphael Lakafia, 7 Julien Bonnaire, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5 Lionel Nallet, 4 Pascal Pape, 3 Luc Ducalcon, 2 William Servat, 1 Jean-Baptiste Poux

Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Fabien Barcella, 18 Julien Pierre, 19 Imanol Harinordoquy, 20 Francois Trinh-Duc, 21 Fabrice Estebanez, 22 Cedric Heymans

Tonga:
TBA

 

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