Rugby

France veteran Morgan Parra says he's not 'bitter' after Rugby World Cup omission

AFP-JIJI

Experienced scrum-half Morgan Parra said on Monday he is not “bitter” about being left off France’s squad for this year’s Rugby World Cup.

Parra, 30, who has made 71 test appearances, a Les Bleus record in the No. 9 shirt, was a shock omission in June from Jacques Brunel’s 31-man group as well as his reserve list for the tournament in Japan, which begins on Sept. 20.

Youngsters Antoine Dupont and Baptiste Serin as well Racing 92’s Maxime Machenaud are the halfbacks picked by 65-year-old Brunel.

“I’m not bitter at all. It’s just like that. I believe in destiny enormously. I’m not there, no problem, that’s how it is,” he said.

“There are three nines there, a lot of things have to happen … (to get a call-up),” he added.

The Clermont playmaker has more international caps than the Dupont-Serin-Machenaud trio combined and he featured at both the 2015 World Cup and the edition four years earlier.

Parra questioned Brunel’s coaching methods following the humiliating 44-8 defeat to England at this year’s Six Nations and has not featured for his country since.

He was, along with center Mathieu Bastareaud and exciting winger Teddy Thomas, the main omissions by Brunel, but said his focus had returned to playing for Clermont.

“Now I have other priorities, starting by getting back with my club,” he said.

Last year’s Top 14 runner-up starts the new league campaign by hosting La Rochelle on Sunday.

France, which has appointed ex-Les Bleus captain Fabien Galthie as an adviser before he replaces Brunel in November, began its World Cup preparations with a 32-3 victory over Scotland on Saturday before a return match in Edinburgh this weekend.

France hosts Italy in its final warm-up on Aug. 30 before playing Argentina, the United States, Tonga and England in the pool stage of this year’s tournament.