Kicking duties handed to Parra

2011-10-13 14:10

Auckland - France would appear ready to hand kicking duties to Morgan Parra for their Rugby World Cup semi-final against Wales, as Dimitri Yachvili struggles to regain fitness.

Scrumhalf Yachvili took a knock on his thigh in the quarter-final win over England and is still not 100 percent.

It seems unlikely France will risk aggravating his injury by allowing him to kick on Saturday.

"We have been trying to rest him this week," French kicking coach Gonzalo Quesada told reporters on Thursday.

"He needs to be 100 percent -- that is the objective.

"Without going into too much detail, he is still in a certain amount of pain and the muscle affected is the one he would use to kick.

"In terms of where it is hurting, it is the muscle which is used the very moment you kick ... which is a very explosive gesture. You can burst the fibres if you have not properly healed.

"It certainly didn't help that he was kicking last week against England after he had injured his thigh."

Yachvili had said on Wednesday that there was a risk he would not kick, and on Thursday team mate Parra said he was ready to step up.

"Kicking is an extra pressure in itself but I am already used to it at club level," the Clermont Auvergne player told a news conference in a central Auckland hotel.

"I have done it during this tournament and so if I have to kick I will.

"I started practising my kicking again this week to back Dimitri up in case he cannot.

"We have experienced issues like this in the past ... really it is up to him -- he'll have to decide whether or not he wants to kick."

Parra took over kicking duties against England when Yachvili left the pitch.

During France's World Cup group stage win over Canada, Parra slotted five penalties and four conversions.

France face Wales in the first semi-final on Saturday at Eden Park. On Sunday hosts New Zealand take on Australia.