France’s Parra to miss New Zealand clash

 Clermont scrum-half Morgan Parra will miss France’s opening Autumn Internationals test against Rugby World champions New Zealand after he was handed a four-week ban by the French League.

Parra was punished for having punched Bordeaux-Begles’s Gautier Gibouin several times during a Top 14 league match on September 29.

Parra, a member of the France side that lost 8-7 to the All Blacks in the 2011 World Cup final, will also miss the visit of Harlequins in the European Cup this weekend as well as league matches against Brive and Castres.

It’s a blow for France coach Philippe Saint-Andre who had only discovered Tuesday that he had probably lost another scrum-half in Racing Metro’s Maxime Machenaud for all three November tests due to a hand injury.

The loss of his two first choice number nines could mean a recall for veteran Toulon half-back Frederic Michalak, who returned to club action last weekend following a dislocated shoulder.

The other option would be in-form Montpellier scrum-half Jonathan Pelissie, who is yet to make his debut.

There was better news for Racing’s France lock Bernard Le Roux who was suspended for only two weeks for stamping during a match against Castres, also on September 29.

Although he will miss the European Cup trip to Scarlets this weekend and the Paris derby with Stade Francais the following weekend, he will be available for the November tests.

France play New Zealand in Paris on November 9 before heading to Le Havre to play Tonga a week later and returning to the capital to round off their tests against South Africa on November 23.

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