Brunel's priority to find halfback partnership
NEWS: France coach Jacques Brunel’s priority for the November Test matches will be to find a consistent halfback partnership, he said on Monday.
The 64-year-old Brunel said: “Our main target will be to find a backbone for the team to maintain and stabilise it.
“The biggest problem since I started [in December 2017] has been not being able to firm up key areas in the team, mainly at halfback, and we know how important it is.”
Brunel’s side will play South Africa, Argentina and Fiji during the next month.
Clermont scrumhalf Morgan Parra, who has won 69 international caps, will miss the fixtures through injury with his his club teammate Camille Lopez set to start at flyhalf.
“I won’t lie but my original plan was to start Morgan Parra alongside Camille Lopez at halfback,” added Brunel.
The options to take Parra’s place are Bordeaux-Begles’ Baptiste Serin as well as Toulouse pair Antoine Dupont and Sebastien Bezy.
“Now we have two players. Serin, who’s started the season well, and Dupont, who initially was first choice last year but we haven’t seen him because of injury,” Brunel said.
“We have two players in good form [Serin and Dupont] without forgetting Bezy who has started the season well,” he added.
France host Argentina in Lille on November 17, less than a year before facing them at the 2019 Rugby World Cup.
“I’m sure whatever the result it will have no impact on the World Cup fixture,” Brunel said.
“We’ll be in totally different situations. We’ll be fresh with 15 days of preparation, they’ll have been together for two months and know each other well.
“During the World Cup, everyone will be in the same boat.”