France to face All Blacks with untested pair

Thu Nov 7, 2013 4:53am EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - France manager Philippe Saint-Andre took a gamble on Thursday when he picked the inexperienced fly-half Remi Tales in an untested halfback pairing with Morgan Parra to face world champions New Zealand on Saturday.

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.

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."

Team:   Continued...

New Zealand's All Blacks perform the haka before their rugby union test match again France in Christchurch, June 15, 2013. REUTERS/Iain McGregor/Pool