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Parra says France are wary of Scotland

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Article Published: Wednesday 22 February 2012

France scrum-half Morgan Parra has insisted that last year's Rugby World Cup finalists will not be taking Scotland for granted despite their record so far in the Six Nations.

Scotland have played two and lost two in the year's Six Nations after losing at home to England and away to Wales.

Twenty-three-year-old Clermont star Parra, who will win his 37th cap in Edinburgh, believes the Scots had come such a long way in recent years that he would not rule them out of ending a losing drought against France that goes back to 2006.

"We have to be very wary of the Scots," said Parra, who has been given the starting spot as Dimitri Yachvili has not recovered from injury.

"Even more so as they are at home. It is not by chance that Murrayfield is sold out on Sunday.

"A few years ago that wasn't the case, because the Scots didn't have a very good style of play but at the World Cup they were within minutes of beating England and qualifying for the knockout stages at the expense of Argentina.

"They have regained their respect. They have a very ambitious style of play and they get under the skin of their opponents.

"They are only lacking the tiniest spark to really get going, so it's crucial it's not us who provides it to them."

Parra had a memorable 2010 when he was pivotal in Clermont winning their first domestic championship and also in France's Six Nations Grand Slam.

But although he is regarded as the long-term first choice at scrum-half, he is not taking that for granted either.

"You have to keep on proving your worth the whole time," said Parra, who has amassed 232 points for France.

"With a new coaching staff, you start from zero.

"If I don't play well this weekend, I may get another chance, maybe I won't. We have a lot of good scrum-halves in France!"

Parra, whose World Cup final lasted just 12 minutes as he had to go off after being knocked to the ground by All Black captain Richie McCaw, said the structure was different under the new regime of Philippe Saint-Andre, who replaced Marc Lievremont after the 8-7 World Cup final defeat by the All Blacks.

"The weeks are structured differently.

"It is more like how the English prepare for matches. The training sessions are shorter but with more rhythm and more precision.

"But it isn't change for change's sake."

Parra, who would have started the second match against Ireland earlier this month before it was called off at the last minute, admitted that things had changed for him and his team-mates since the World Cup final.

"Rugby isn't like football. We have a team image. Football is a team game but an individual image.

"We have done some advertising together (with other French team members).

"It is rare that I do things alone. In other respects things have changed, mainly the manner in which people look at us. For a lot of French people, we deserved to be world champions.

"The image we had at the start of the campaign was negative because it was badly expressed and not relayed correctly by the media.

"Now, we have more respect than before the World Cup."

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