Auck (New Zealand) (AFP) – Scrum-half Morgan Parra is back in blue for the first time since the 2015 World Cup as France bank on experience for the first Test against New Zealand in Auckland on Saturday.
Coach Jacques Brunel has named 10 players missing from this year’s Six Nations tournament including Joann Maestri, Maxime Medard, Uini Atonio and Fabien Sanconnie.
Parra last appeared in the World Cup quarter final in Cardiff which the All Blacks won 62-13.
Brunel, who took over as France coach late last year, had always been keen to include the 29-year-old Parra in his line up, but the Clermont scrum-half was troubled by a knee injury earlier in the year.
Parra will partner Anthony Belleau in the halves while Medard slots in at fullback for his first Test since their tour of Argentina two years ago.
New Zealand-born tighthead prop Atonio and lock Maestri return after a year out of the Test limelight row while Sanconnie fills the loose forward gap created by the unavailability of the experienced Louis Picamoles.
France (15-1): Maxime Medard; Teddy Thomas, Mathieu Bastareaud (capt), Geoffrey Doumayrou, Remy Grosso; Anthony Belleau, Morgan Parra; Fabien Sanconnie, Kelian Gourdon, Judicael Cancoriet; Yoann Maestri, Paul Gabrillagues; Uini Atonio, Camille Chat, Dany Priso.
Replacements: Adrien Pelissie, Cyril Baille, Rabah Slimani, Bernard Le Roux, Alexandre Lapandry, Baptiste Serin, Jules Plisson, Gael Fickou.