France v Ireland, Six Nations Championship, February 13
Parra slams 'cheating' Ireland
February 12, 2010
France's Morgan Parra has stoked the war of words with Ireland ahead of their showdown in Paris © Getty Images
France scrum-half Morgan Parra has raised the stakes ahead of their Six Nations showdown with Ireland by labelling their rivals as cheats.
Ireland have the added motivation of revenge in Paris on Saturday as they are still smarting at the way their football team were defeated by France in the World Cup play-offs following Thierry Henry's now infamous handball. Ireland back Keith Earls said recently they would not hesitate to cheat on Saturday but Parra has hit back, insisting they do so all the time.
"They cheat every weekend," he said. "So that won't be a surprise. They have experienced players who can do so. "We dissected the video very well. There's not a moment when they're not cheating.
"They have a great defence. (They're) cheating, but intelligently cheating. It's very well done. If we did the same thing, we would be punished each time. But instead they're the least penalised team in the tournament, which is very impressive."
Marc Lievremont's team started their campaign with a comfortable 18-9 win over Scotland at Murrayfield last Sunday but can expect a sterner test of their title credentials when the Irish visit the Stade de France. The Grand Slam champions are undefeated in their past 12 matches but Parra believes that run will be brought to an end on Saturday in a match many believe could decide the outcome of this year's tournament.
"The Irish have a great team, with a Munster spine, but I am not impressed," he said. "We can be by certain players but not in general by their team. How many matches have they gone without defeat? Twelve, 13? Well fine, that will finish at 12 this Saturday.
"To win you shouldn't respect your opponents too much. If you respect them too much, if there's too much admiration, then we can't be above them. Personally I don't have admiration for anyone I'll be facing. But careful, that doesn't prevent respect. They have gone 12 matches without defeat after all. But it's respect not admiration."
Parra also admitted that his side will have to raise their game if they are to maintain their Championship challenge. "Against Scotland there was a lack of connection between the lines," he said. "I have to take a bit of responsibility for that. It will be very important Saturday because the match will be more difficult against Ireland than against Scotland. We can't play like we did last weekend."