Parra returns for France against New Zealand

Morgan Parra will make his first appearance for France since 2015 after being named to start in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

Morgan Parra will make his first appearance for France since 2015 after being named to start in the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.

The Clermont scrum-half missed the NatWest 6 Nations through injury but is now fit again and steps in for the injured Maxime Machenaud, who started every game of the Championship.

Only four players remain from the team that lost narrowly in Wales in March, with Mathieu Bastareaud continuing as captain for Jacques Brunel’s side.

The other players to start both games are winger Rémy Grosso, centre Geoffrey Doumayrou and lock Paul Gabrillagues, with Brunel having to cope with a number of injuries.

Up front Dany Priso gets his first Test start, while Camille Chat gets the nod in the absence of Guilhem Guirado, who is rested, and Uini Atonio returns at tighthead prop.

The recalled Yoann Maestri starts in the second row alongside Gabrillagues, while the back row is made up of Kévin Gourdon, Judicaël Cancoriet and Fabien Sanconnie, who makes his first Test start at No.8.

Parra will combine with Anthony Belleau in the half-backs, while the back three is made up of Grosso, Teddy Thomas and Maxime Médard, a try-scorer when France won in New Zealand back in 2009.

On the bench Alexandre Lapandry is set to win his first cap in four years after being named as back-row cover, while Cyril Baille and Jules Plisson are also back.


Brunel explained his choices saying: “A number of players were not on our list for the NatWest 6 Nations. At the time I was picking the players in form rather than the CVs of the players.

“Some who missed the Championship have shown during the second half of the season that they are ready to play for France. It’s up to them to fit into the squad.

“This is the ultimate opportunity for us to make a final review of the squad and to see new players join the France group before this pre-World Cup season begins.

“Some players in this group had this opportunity and seized it and are still with us.

“During this tour, others can come back or take their chance because the upcoming season will see the group tightening . . . in anticipation of the Rugby World Cup at Japan.”


What more can we say about New Zealand? The two-time defending World Cup winners are going to take some stopping.

Steve Hansen’s side have won the last 11 meetings with Les Bleus – but France can take hope from the fact that their last win came in Dunedin back in 2009.

Beauden, Jordie and Scott Barrett become the first trio of brothers to start in a Test match together for the All Blacks.

But if there is a weakness, it might be in the front row where Hansen faces something of an injury crisis. That means the uncapped Karl Tu’inukuafe is on the bench and could be called upon for his debut.


All Blacks haven’t been beaten in their last 40 test matches on Eden Park but France were the last team to beat them there, back in 1994.    France team to take on New Zealand: 15. Maxime Médard (Stade Toulousain) 14. Teddy Thomas (Racing 92) 13. Mathieu Bastareaud (RC Toulon) 12. Geoffrey Doumayrou (Stade Rochelais) 11. Rémy Grosso (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 10. Anthony Belleau (RC Toulon) 9. Morgan Parra (ASM Clermont Auvergne)

1. Dany Priso (Stade Rochelais) 2. Camille Chat (Racing 92) 3. Uini Atonio (Stade Rochelais) 4. Paul Gabrillagues (Stade Français) 5. Yoann Maestri (Stade Toulousain) 6. Judicaël Cancoriet (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 7. Kévin Gourdon (Stade Rochelais) 8. Fabien Sanconnie (CA Brive)   Replacements: 16. Adrien Pélissié (Union Bordeaux-Bègles) 17. Cyril Baille (Stade Toulousain) 18. Rabah Slimani (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 19. Bernard Le Roux (Racing 92) 20. Alexandre Lapandry (ASM Clermont Auvergne) 21. Jules Plisson (Stade Français) 22. Baptiste Serin (Union Bordeaux-Bègles) 23. Gaël Fickou (Stade Toulousain)