21 Sep 2011

France surprise for key World Cup pool match against All Blacks

6:54 am on 21 September 2011

France has sprung a surprise for their key World Cup pool match against the All Blacks in Auckland on Saturday night.

Coach Marc Lievremont has named usual halfback Morgan Parra at first five, replacing Francois Trinh-Duc.

Parra played at first five for the last quarter of France's two pool games against Japan and Canada but says he's surprised to have been selected to start in the role.

Dimitri Yachvili will play at halfback.

Lievremont, who rarely names the same team for successive matches, has also reshuffled his forward pack for the game which is likely to decide the winner of the pool - and Twitter has been lit up by his omission of his entire first choice front row.

Many think France want to lose so they avoid the tough Southern Hemisphere sides in the knockout phases.

Captain Thierry Dusautoir returns to the side after missing Sunday's win over Canada.