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12.04.2019 Sports News

French Rugby Clubs Say 'Non!' To Foreign Coach For National Team

By Paul Myers - RFI
French Rugby Clubs Say 'Non!' To Foreign Coach For National Team

The top man must be a partisan, said French rugby clubs in a poll released on Friday over whether a foreigner should coach the national squad. Bernard Laporte, the boss of the French rugby federation (FFR), sought out the opinion of the 1,742 clubs throughout the land as part of his drive for re-election in 2020.

Nine hundred clubs responded to his request and 59 percent said they did not want an outsider directing operations even though countries such as Wales, Ireland and England have won the Six Nations continental title under foreign coaches.

That means Jacques Brunel's successor after the 2019 World Cup in Japan will be home grown.

"I will respect this choice," said Laporte.

France are not considered among the favourites for the World Cup in September. They came fourth in the 2019 Six Nations tournament after two victories and three losses in their five matches.

During the annual event they squandered a 16-0 half-time lead over Wales at the Stade de France to go down 16-24 and they suffered their worst defeat in 108 years when they lost to England 44-8 at Twickenham.

On Tuesday, the FFR was ordered to pay one million euros in compensation to the former coach Jean Novès for an illegal dismissal. He was the first national team coach to be dispatched during a contract when he was shown the door in December 2017 following six consecutive defeats.

While Novès only steered the national side to seven wins in his 21 matches, Brunel has won five of his 16 games in charge.