Rugby World Cup 2011
Lievremont picks surprise at half-back
September 19, 2011
Morgan Parra has been selected at fly-half for the crunch game against New Zealand on Saturday, with Dimitri Yachvili playing at scrum-half © Getty Images
Marc Lievremont has sprung a selection surprise by naming both of his scrum-halves in the half-back positions for the eagerly-awaited pool game against New Zealand on Saturday.
The maverick coach has picked Dimitri Yachvili at scrum-half and Morgan Parra outside him at No.10. It is the first time the two have played together as a half-back pairing, in what is France's biggest game since the 2007 Rugby World Cup.
Never known the conventional, Lièvremont has picked the pair, with regular fly-half François Trinh-Duc, who started both of France's Pool games so far and has been one of the mainstays of the French team during Lièvremont's tenure, is on the bench.
In other changes, full-back Damien Traille and loose forwards Louis Picamoles and Julien Bonnaire are rewarded for their impressive turns against Canada. Up front, Stade Francais hooker Dimitri Szarzewski starts his first game of the tournament, as William Servat takes his place on the bench.
Aurélien Rougerie and Maxime Mermoz will take up the centre positions for just the second time, with their only sole fixture as a pair coming in March when France beat Scotland in the Six Nations.
France Damien Traille, Vincent Clerc, Aurélien Rougerie, Maxime Mermoz, Maxime Médard, Morgan Parra, Dimitri Yachvili, Jean-Baptiste Poux, Dimitri Szarzewski, Luc Ducalcon, Lionel Nallet, Pascale Pape, Thierry Dusautoir (c), Julien Bonnaire, Louis Picamoles
Replacements: William Servat, Fabien Barcella, Julien Pierre, Imanol Harinordoquy, Francois Trinh-Duc, Fabrice Estebanez, Cédric Heymans.
© ESPN EMEA Ltd
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes
"People on the outside think unfounded thoughts on Toulon." Tom Hamilton talks to RCT lock Nick Kennedy ahead of Saturday's Heineken Cup final against Clermont