Rugby - France to face All Blacks with untested pair

France rugby manager Philippe Saint-Andre took a gamble on Thursday when he picked the inexperienced flyhalf Remi Tales in an untested halfback pairing with Morgan Parra to face world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

Reuters
Rugby - France to face All Blacks with untested pair
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Philippe Saint-Andre insists he will not leave his post before the World Cup

Tales, who will be paired with Parra for the first time, won his only two caps against the All Blacks this year as Les Bleus lost 30-0 and 24-9 in New Zealand in June.

Parra was included in the squad after his ban for punching an opponent in a Top 14 game was reduced from four to two weeks last month.

"I picked Morgan for his experience and his kicking skills," Saint-Andre told reporters as he explained why he picked Parra over Jean-Marc Doussain

"He has a lot of caps (51). Jean-Marc is only second or third kicker at Toulouse. That played a part in my choice."

France, who have lost their last seven games against New Zealand, including a 8-7 defeat in the 2011 World Cup final, will need to play boldly, according to Saint-Andre.

"We will have to be intelligent and focused defensively," he said.

"It is important that the players believe in themselves, that they play with passion and intelligence, but most of all they must release the handbrake.

"There is obviously some fear when you face New Zealand. We should build on that fear, it must not annihilate us. We will need to run and be creative."

Whatever the result, Saint-Andre hopes that his team will "show they can compete with the best team in the world".

"We want to be actors in that match, not just spectators."

To do that, the manager has picked flanker Wenceslas Lauret, who has been in impressive form with Biarritz in the Top 14.

"He is fast and solid, said Saint-Andre. "We know that against New Zealand you need to win the duels in the impact zones. Defence will be crucial."

Team:

15-Brice Dulin, 14-Yoann Huget, 13-Florian Fritz, 12-Wesley Fofana, 11-Maxime Medard, 10-Remi Tales, 9-Morgan Parra, 8-Damien Chouly, 7-Wenceslas Lauret, 6-Thierry Dusautoir, 5-Yoann Maestri, 4-Pascal Pape, 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 (Compiled by Julien Pretot; Editing by Patrick Johnston and Clare Fallon)

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