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"Stubborn", "fighting", "brave": Morgan Parra told by his former teammates


Highlights: Former scrum-half of the XV of France and Clermont plays, perhaps, the last match of his career this Saturday against Racing 92. Julien Bonnaire: "He loved chocolate as they say, he didn't escape in defense... He was always there to put his shoulder when he needed to" François Trinh-Duc: "Despite our strong characters, we never shouted at each other" Federico Pestellini: "When we meet, we act as if we saw each other last week"

EXCLUSIVE - The former scrum-half of the XV of France and Clermont plays, perhaps, the last match of his career this Saturday against Racing 92. Bonnaire, Trinh-Duc and Cudmore share their anecdotes about the No. 9 of the Stade Français.

Julien Bonnaire: "He loved chocolate!"

(75 caps with the XV of France, teammate of Parra in selection, Bourgoin then Clermont)

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"I was like 'it was about time', he had to stop, he's starting to get a little old, right? (laughs). I thought he had stopped two three years ago but no, he was hanging on (laughs). I'm kidding, of course. He's been on the circuit for a while. It was not necessarily the mind that counted but rather the physical preparation, bodybuilding ... It weighed on me too when I stopped. He had a wonderful career. I saw him start since I was his captain in Bourgoin when he was barely 18 years old. I worked with him in my room, in the France team and then in Clermont. We shared a lot of great moments and even disappointments in some matches. He has always been very consistent and above all very little injured. And yet, it is not a player who spared himself! He loved chocolate as they say, he didn't escape in defense... He was always there to put his shoulder when he needed to. His level of play has been perfect throughout his career. In terms of his character, he has always been authoritarian with his forwards. At 17-18 years old, he already was. He had it naturally as all the big 9 have. We wanted to follow him. He played a series of matches, he gained experience and then, against the poles, he was impressive."

Julien Bonnaire and Morgan Parra at the 2012 Six Nations Tournament. Gwendoline Le Goff

Their relationship: "She's still very good. We have always had a good discussion. I appreciate it very much. For its sporting qualities of course but human above all. I appreciate his frankness. When he has something to say, he says it. I'd rather have someone like that than someone who will talk behind our backs. Even if he is in Paris, I follow him and I have him regularly on the phone."

His main quality: "He's a fighter. He never gives up. He has this winning mentality."

His biggest flaw: " On the other hand, he had a hell of a character! It's not new (laughs). Sometimes a little too much..."

The anecdote: "We were often partners in the room. When I slept, he would come home and he would make a noise not possible as if he was alone. It annoyed me a little bit (laughs). He was watching TV when I wanted to sleep, then he would fall asleep and drop the remote control... He was in his world. Many times I cursed him but these memories remain engraved."

François Trinh-Duc: "Despite our strong characters, we never shouted at each other"

(66 caps with the XV of France, teammate of Morgan Parra in selection)

"I was not surprised by the end of his career! I know Morgan well, I saw him recently before the holidays. Morgan has always had this passion for training, organization and game projects. He is someone who knows what he wants and who does everything he can to get there. He's a winner, a competitor. He owes much only to himself. He fully deserves this record, this career and then also this rest."

Morgan Parra and François Trinh-Duc played in the 2011 World Cup final against the AllBlacks. Federico Pestellini

Their relationship: "When we meet, we act as if we saw each other last week. We discuss his life, the afterlife, his Parisian life, his family life, his reconversion and his projects that he leads at the same time..."

Its main quality: " Morgan is a very endearing person, who you have to get to know. He is faithful in friendship."

His biggest flaw: "On the other hand, even if it can be considered a quality and even more in his position, is that he is stubborn! We got to know each other in conditions where we were the youngest and where we had an important role at the hinge. We had to impose ourselves around legendary players. We had to drive all that and we got along very well. That's what made us strong."

The anecdote: "On the field, I have no memory of moments when we shouted at each other when well, we have strong characters and we know how to say things. I don't remember any moments when we were able to take the lead. Outside, we had some very nice experiences with some third halves that we can tell or not ... But there have been good ones whether in Scotland, New Zealand or all over the world (smiles). We spent a lot of time debriefing matches and having a good time together. It was part of our common points to enjoy these moments because we knew that a career passed quickly and that we were privileged."

Jamie Cudmore: "Morgan put his body on his line every weekend"

(43 caps with Canada, teammate of Morgan Parra at Clermont from 2009 to 2016)

"I feel like lately a lot of great players are stopping. But Morgan, it's obviously special. We had a good relationship, he was a bit of the player that, we big guys, we had to protect and that we sometimes braked when we had to. He was coming to the end of his playing career but in the future he could become an excellent coach. He was a great player and above all a great competitor. He put his body on his line every weekend even if he did not weigh 115kg. It's a shame that there weren't more than 100-kilogram players with Morgan's temperament. He had this culture of winning. If it was necessary to clear or plate the largest one, he went for it. He never escaped. Goalscorer, tackler... He didn't care, he knew how to do everything."

Jamie Cudmore and Morgan Parra (with Julien Pierre on the right) celebrating the shield of Brennus de Clermont in 2010. JB Autissier / PanoramiC

His main quality: "He wants to play all the time, everything. Even if it's playing cards on the bus. He wants to play, but most of all, he wants to win."

His big flaw: " Because he wants to play all the time, he is sometimes a little frustrated. Otherwise, he's stubborn (laughs). Maybe it's his Portuguese side (laughs). But you have to be stubborn! In any case, all men are..."

The anecdote: "I have one during my last match at Michelin (2016). In addition, it was against Stade Français. I started to clear a ruck and, at the last moment, Morgan and a Paris player on the ground turn and I shoot Morgan properly on the shoulder. I said, "Oh f**** sorry." But two or three phases of play afterwards, we made a nice combination in touch and I served Morgan for the try. Just before I almost broke his ribs and to apologize I offer him a pass for the try (laughs). He was calm with the big guys and me because several times, I intervened in front of the opposing forwards who wanted to cut him (laughs)."

Source: lefigaro

All sports articles on 2023-06-01

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