EXCLUSIVE – The former scrum half of the XV of France and Clermont is playing, perhaps, the last match of his career this Saturday against Racing 92. Bonnaire, Trinh-Duc and Cudmore deliver their anecdotes on the n°9 of the Stade Français .
Julien Bonnaire: “He loved chocolate!”
(75 selections with the XV of France, teammate of Parra in selection, in Bourgoin then in Clermont)
“I said to myself ‘it was about time’, he had to stop, he’s starting to get a little old, right? (laughter). I thought he had stopped two or three years ago but no, he was hanging on (laughter). I’m kidding of course. He had been on the circuit for a while. It’s not necessarily the mind that counted but rather the physical preparation, the 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 rubbed shoulders with him in the bedroom, in the France team 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 few injuries. And yet, he is not a player who spared himself! He liked chocolate as they say, he didn’t escape in defense… He was always there to help when needed. 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, he already was. He had that naturally, like all the big 9s have. We wanted to follow him. He chained the matches, he gained experience then, against the poles, he was impressive.
Their relationship : “She is always very good. We always had a good discussion. I appreciate it very much. For its sporting qualities of course but above all human. I appreciate his frank side. When he has something to say, he says it. I prefer someone like that rather than someone who will talk behind our backs. Even if he is in Paris, I follow him and I regularly have him on the phone.
Its main quality “He’s a fighter. He never lets go. He has that winning mentality.”
His biggest flaw:On the other hand, he had a great character! This is not new (laughter). Sometimes a little too much…”
The story “We were often bedroom partners. When I slept, he would come home and he would make an incredible noise as if he were all alone. It annoyed me a bit (laughter). He was watching TV when I wanted to sleep, then he fell asleep and dropped the remote… He was in his world. Several times, I cursed him but these memories remain engraved.
François Trinh-Duc: “Despite our strong characters, we never argued”
(66 selections 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 holiday season. Morgan has always had this pion for coaching, organizing and playing projects. He is someone who knows what he wants and works hard to make it happen. He is a winner, a competitor. He owes many things only to himself. He amply deserves this prize list, this career and then also this rest.
Their relationship : “When we meet, we act as if we had seen each other last week. We discuss his life, the aftermath, his Parisian life, his family life, his retraining and his projects that he leads head-on…”
Its main quality:Morgan is a very endearing person, who you have to get to know. He is faithful in friendship.”
His biggest flaw : “Conversely, even if it can be considered a quality and even more so in his position, it is that he is stubborn! We got to know each other in conditions where we were the youngest and where we had an important pivotal role. We had to establish ourselves around legendary players. We had to pilot all that and we got along very well. This is what made our strength.”
The story : “In the field, I have no memory of times when we argued with each other when, well, we have strong characters and we know how to say things. I don’t remember a time when we were able to fight each other. Outside, we had very good experiences with in particular a few third halves that we can tell or not… But there were good ones whether in Scotland, New Zealand or all over the world (smile). We spent a lot of time debriefing the matches and having a good time together. It was part of our common points to take advantage of these moments because we knew that a career ped 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 in Clermont from 2009 to 2016)
“I feel like a lot of great players are quitting lately. But Morgan, it obviously remains special. We had a good relationship, he was a bit like the player that we big guys had to protect and that we sometimes slowed down when necessary. 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 though he didn’t weigh 115kg. It’s just a shame that there haven’t been more 100-kilo players with Morgan’s temperament. He had this winning culture. If it was necessary to clear or tackle the largest, he spun there. He never escaped. Scorer, tackler… He didn’t care, he knew how to do everything.
Its main quality : “He wants to play all the time, at everything. Even if it’s playing cards on the bus. He wants to play, but above all, he wants to win.
His big flaw:Because he wants to play all the time, he sometimes gets a little frustrated. Otherwise, He is stubborn (laughter). Maybe it’s his Portuguese side (laughter). But you have to be stubborn! Anyway, all men are…”
The story : “I have one during my last match at the Michelin (2016). In addition, it was against Stade Français. I started to do a clearing in a ruck and, at the last moment, Morgan and a Paris player on the ground turn and I shoot Morgan properly in the shoulder. I said ”oh god damn sorry”. But two or three phases of play later, we made a nice combination in touch and I served Morgan for the test. Just before I almost broke his ribs and to apologize I offered him a p for the test (laughter). He was calm with the big boys and me because several times, I intervened in front of the opposing forwards who wanted to cut him (laughter).»