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 Sports Media Ltd.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies
Tom Hamilton runs the rule over just where the six countries stand ahead of the global gathering in September