Farcical French face player revolt on eve of Rugby World Cup – Stuff.co.nz


French players stand between the posts after another England try during the Six Nations loss in London.

PA

French players stand between the posts after another England try during the Six Nations loss in London.

France are facing another player revolt just months out from the Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Coach Jacques Brunel is in the firing line after their horror Six Nations loss to England with some outrageous revelations emerging in the wake of the 44-8 defat, their heaviest defeat by England since 1911, their eighth loss in nine tests.

This is nothing new in the volatile world that is French rugby but the surprise is it’s come on the eve of a World Cup rather than during it.

French coach Jacques Brunel is feeling the heat as the losses pile up.

GETTY IMAGES

French coach Jacques Brunel is feeling the heat as the losses pile up.

The France players pushed coach Marc Lievremont aside during the 2011 World Cup in New Zealand in 2011 where they went all the way to the final, losing to the All Blacks. There were whispers of a similar mutiny against head coach Philippe Saint-Andre during the last tournament in England where the French exited to the All Blacks in the quarter-finals.

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“I think that we are capable of doing what the English do but are we working on this during training? I think we don’t work on it enough, even not at all,” French halfback Morgan Parra told Midi Olympique, the respected French rugby paper that ran an article headlined “Waterloo”.

Sky Sport

England wing Jonny May crossed for a hat-trick in the opening half-hour as England crushed France 44-8.

“Yet these are very simple things that are today part of high-level rugby. We can do this. But do we work on it? No.

“Before the staff, it is first for us, the players, that the situation is hard to live and it is up to us to find solutions because today we are not invited [to give our opinions],” he added in a broad hint that the players could again take matters into their own hands.

The loss to England followed a meltdown against Wales where France led 16-0 at halftime but eventually lost 24-19. Sebastien Vahaamahina, the lock forward, revealed afterwards that he did not know he had taken over the captaincy during that second half.

“It was the referee, Wayne Barnes, who came to see me on a penalty to ask me my choice,” Vahaamahina said. “I told him to address the captain; he said it was me. The staff did not warn me.”

The lack of co-ordination continued against England at Twickenham where replacements Thomas Ramos and Romain Ntamack, according to Midi Olympique, did not know what positions they should be playing when Gael Fickou was in the sin-bin and Damian Penaud went off for a head-injury assessment.

“It was chaos,” one player told the newspaper. “Nobody knew which position to play. We were lost on the pitch and tried to ask the bench.”


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