27 Sep 2011

France make changes but Parra stays at No.10

12:12 pm on 27 September 2011

France have retained Morgan Parra at first five for their final Rugby World Cup Pool A clash against Tonga, coach Marc Lievremont keeping changes to a minimum despite a stuttering display against the All Blacks.

Hooker William Servat, number eight Raphael Lakafia and winger Alexis Palisson come into the side for Saturday's match in Wellington with Dimitri Szarzewski, Louis Picamoles and Damien Traille making way.

France, who eased past Japan and Canada in their opening matches, are heavy favourites to reach the last eight with a win over Tonga who need a big victory to have any chance of reaching the knockout stages for the first time.

Parra is kept in the team even though the All Blacks exposed his lack of defensive nouse in France's 37-17 defeat at Eden Park. Halfback Dimitri Yachvili also stays in the side with the pair likely to rotate duties at No.10 throughout the match.

Lievremont's again overlooked Francois Trinh-Duc who is among the replacements despite coming on in the second half and scoring a late try against the All Blacks.

Maxime Medard makes a surprise switch to fullback in place of Traille, who drops out of the matchday squad, with Palisson coming in on the left wing for his first start after injury.

Canada are the only other side in contention for the Pool A runners-up berth behind group winners New Zealand but they are not expected to take any points from their final clash against the All Blacks and are likely to miss out.

France: 15-Maxime Medard, 14-Vincent Clerc, 13-Aurelien Rougerie, 12-Maxime Mermoz, 11-Alexis Palisson, 10-Morgan Parra, 9-Dimitri Yachvili, 8-Raphael Lakafia, 7-Julien Bonnaire, 6-Thierry Dusautoir (captain), 5-Lionel Nallet, 4-Pascal Pape, 3-Luc Ducalcon, 2-William Servat, 1-Jean-Baptiste Poux

Replacements: 16-Dimitri Szarzewski, 17-Fabien Barcella, 18-Julien Pierre, 19-Imanol Harinordoquy, 20-Francois Trinh-Duc, 21-Fabrice Estebanez, 22-Cedric Heymans