Morgan Parra started the World Cup on the bench and ended it the same way, as an injury cut short his involvement in the first half of Sunday's final against New Zealand.
Parra took an accidental knee to the side of the head from flank Richie McCaw after being caught underneath the ruck, and spent time in the blood bin, with Francois Trinh-Duc coming on to replace him.
"I was bleeding a bit, I took a knock and I was a bit dazed," said Parra, who had heavy bruising under both eyes as he spoke after the match.
"I was trying to get out from under the ruck, I took a knee to the face, it wasn't when I tackled (Ma'a) Nonu, but afterward. Did he (McCaw) mean it? I don't know. I haven't seen the footage. But it wasn't from Nonu."
Parra returned shortly after, but lasted only five minutes before coming off a second time. Parra held his head in his hands and looked distraught as he left the field.
"I wanted to come back on, but my neck and head were hurting, and then I took another kick to it ... that's how it goes," Parra said.
"That's how it goes, what can you do? I wasn't targeted any more than last week. I know that when you play No.10 and you weigh 80 kilos people go looking for you more."
The 22-year-old Parra started the tournament as reserve scrumhalf until coach Marc Lievremont made a bold decision to drop his regular flyhalf Trinh-Duc and convert Parra to No.10.
Watching from the bench as Trinh-Duc finished the match, Parra thought New Zealand would crack.
"We knew that holding the All Blacks to a few points at half-time, they would only score a minimal amount of points in the match and that everything was possible in the second half," Parra said.
"It didn't go our way, even though I think we deserved better. It was a difficult, hostile atmosphere to play in, but we were ready. It was a great adventure. It would have been nice to finish with a World Cup title, but it wasn't to be."
France was heavily criticized throughout the tournament after some stuttering performances in the pool stage, losing 37-17 to the All Blacks and then 19-14 to Tonga.
Against the odds, France reached the final by beating England and then Wales, but fell just short on Sunday.
"We worked hard for weeks for this, people told us we didn't deserve to be here, but we showed tonight that we certainly did," Parra said. "The positive thing is that we can walk away from this World Cup with our heads held high."
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