Parra adjusting to life at 10

by staff

For France fly half Morgan Parra Rugby World Cup 2011 has not turned out how he expected, despite him being a key member of the team that has reached Sunday's Final.

He arrived in New Zealand as first-choice scrum half, but such was the form of his fellow No.9 Dimitri Yachvili that France coach Marc Lièvremont decided to pair them together, with Parra in the No.10 jersey for the pool match with New Zealand.

While the experiment started in inauspicious circumstances with a 37-17 loss, Parra has since grown into the role and it was his nerveless ability with the boot that guided France to a 9-8 win over Wales in the semi-finals.

"I never thought I would be playing in the final at number 10," Parra said.

"It is a dream of mine and I am trying to make the most of it and I am going to try to enjoy it the best I can and be that on the pitch or off the pitch.

"For the time being that is what has been happening but for the dream to come true we have to win."

Parra is not the first French player to switch between the scrum half and fly half. Frederic Michalak played both for France, while his Toulouse teammate Jean-Baptiste Elissalde later became a fly half after years as scrum half.

Club duties

At club level Parra is the first-choice scrum half for Clermont Auvergne and expects to return to that role after the World Cup.

"I think when I go back to my club I will go back to being number 9," he said. "To be good at number 9 is one thing, but to be good at number 10 is my objective."

Away from the pitch Parra is mature beyond his years. Despite only being 22 he is already working towards completing his full French Rugby Federation coaching badges.

He coaches a local team Les Martres de Veyre twice a week and he has been keeping in touch with the side on a regular basis since being in New Zealand, something he feels helps keep his feet on the ground.

"The guys go to work, then come to training and then go to work again the next day," Parra said. "It makes me realise how lucky I am.

"When I don't want to go training I think of these guys and the sacrifices they make. It has shown me the true rugby values of solidarity and friendship within a team."