x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Trinh-Duc dropped by Lievremont for All Blacks encounter

Morgan Parra will start at fly-half for France for Saturday's game with New Zealand.

Francois Trinh-Duc has been dropped to the substitutes bench for France's game with New Zealand.
Francois Trinh-Duc has been dropped to the substitutes bench for France's game with New Zealand.

Francois Trinh-Duc has been told to raise his game by Marc Lievremont, the French coach, after he dropped the fly-half to the bench for Saturday's Rugby World Cup encounter with New Zealand.

Morgan Parra will switch from scrum-half to fly-half instead of Trinh-Duc at Eden Park in Auckland, even though he has never started a match for France in the No 10 role.

"I'm waiting for Francois to show me he is a competitor, that he's better than he's shown in the last two games. It's also a kind of test for him," Lievremont said.

"How will Francois take this? I'm waiting to see that as well."

Trinh-Duc is likely to come on at some stage against the All Blacks, and Lievremont wants the player to prove him wrong.

"I'm expecting more from him," Lievremont said. "He has trouble accepting when he's underperformed, which is a necessary thing to be a champion."

"I thought about this long into the night, especially the decision about the half-backs, which wasn't an easy one.

"Francois Trinh-Duc is paying the price a bit for the last two games, and Morgan has done very well when he's played."

Parra has not played fly-half at club level for three years, and has made two just fleeting appearances for France in the outside half-back position.

"Even though he's not the biggest of lads, he's very courageous and I trust the back row will protect him," Lievremont said.

With Jean-Marc Doussain, the utility back, having arrived late on Monday, and expected to feature against Tonga in the final Pool A game, Lievremont has clearly issued Trinh-Duc a challenge.

"There will be competition for places, perhaps there hasn't been enough of that," Lievremont said.

Trinh-Duc said: "I am the only one to blame for my performances."

Lievremont made several changes from the side that beat Canada 46-19 on Sunday, with Thierry Dusautoir, the flanker, returning as captain, Dimitri Szarzewski, the hooker, playing his first match of the tournament, and Dimitri Yachvili coming in at scrum-half.

The winner of Saturday's game will almost certainly top Pool A, and Lievremont wants his side to stay calm.

"[We should] approach it with a lot of pleasure and a lot of passion, without pressure, just with the pride of honouring our colours," he said.