Parra, Talès start for France

Date published: November 7 2013

France boss Philippe Saint-André has picked Morgan Parra and Rémi Talès at half-back for this Saturday's clash with New Zealand.

France boss Philippe Saint-André has picked Morgan Parra and Rémi Talès as his half-back combination for Saturday's clash with New Zealand in Paris.

The pairing will be the ninth different combination tried out by Saint-André since the 2012 Six Nations, as he bids to achieve his first win at the helm against the world champions.

Clermont's Parra was rested during France's June tour of New Zealand but the 24-year-old, who has 51 caps, returns after his ban for punching an opponent in a Top 14 game was reduced from four to two weeks last month.

Talès was preferred over Toulouse's Jean-Marc Doussain, who drops to the bench after playing in the 24-9 loss to the the world champions in New Plymouth in June.

“It was Morgan's experience, with a lot of selections and his kicking ability which made the difference,” explained Saint-André.

“Jean-Marc works extensively with the goal, he scored in New Zealand, but he is Toulouse's second or third scorer,” said Saint-Andre, whose side lost 3-0 on their June tour of New Zealand.

Talès, who has two caps, made his international debut this summer after winning the French title with Castres. The 29-year-old played a few minutes in France's crushing 30-0 defeat in Christchurch.

Otherwise there were few surprises with Saint-André opting for continuity with Biarritz flanker Wenceslas Lauret and Castres prop Yannick Forestier both returning after missing the June tour.

The 46-year-old Saint-André's record since he took over the job at the beginning of 2012 is a modest seven wins, two draws and nine defeats.

The All Blacks – who only beat the French 8-7 in the 2011 World Cup final – go into the game with a record in their last 30 Tests of 28 victories, one defeat and one draw.

After tackling the All Blacks in Stade de France, France next face Tonga in Le Havre on November 16 before returning to Paris to take on South Africa on November 23.

France: 15 Brice Dulin, 14 Yoann Huget, 13 Florian Fritz, 12 Wesley Fofana, 11 Maxime Médard, 10 Rémi Talès, 9 Morgan Parra, 8 Damian Chouly, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Thierry Dusautoir (capt), 5 Yoann Maestri, 4 Pascal Papé, 3 Nicolas Mas, 2 Benjamin Kayser, 1 Yannick Forestier.
Replacements: 16 Dimitri Szarzewski, 17 Vincent Debaty, 18 Rabah Slimani, 19 Sebastien Vahaamahina, 20 Antonie Claassen, 21 Jean-Marc Doussain, 22 Camille Lopez, 23 Gael Fickou.

Date: Saturday, November 9
Kick-off: 21:00 (local)
Venue: Stade de France, Paris
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant Referees: Nigel Owens (Wales), Stuart Berry (South Africa)
TMO: Jim Yuille (Scotland)
Assessor: Tappe Henning (South Africa)