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Harinordoquy rejects B-team theory

Imanol Harinordoquy has mocked claims that France have deliberately selected a weakened team for Saturday's big World Cup group clash with New Zealand.

The French have been heavily criticised in the local press, who have accused coach Marc Lievremont of trying to engineer an easier route to the final by losing to the All Blacks.

Much of the discussion centres on the selection of Morgan Parra at fly-half for what will be his first Test start in the position, but Harinordoquy said: "People are saying this is a France B team but there is no such thing. There is only the France XV."

He added: "We have changed our team for each of the two games in the World Cup so far and now the coach has made his choice for this game. The first choice is evolving.

"There is a polemic going on from certain sections of the press.

"Who are they to say what is the strongest French team? It is not their decision.

"This is a very strong French selection and I am disappointed not to make the XV, but I am determined to make an impact when I come off the bench."

Of the 22 selected by Lievremont, 14 have finished on a winning side against New Zealand with six having beaten the All Blacks twice.

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