Current France coach Jacques Brunel is the right man to lead Les Bleus. That is the view of French Rugby Federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte.

Brunel has come in for criticism from the media following a run of poor performances. There have also been rumblings among players about his approach.

Brunel has a record of three wins in 13 matches since taking over. Among the defeats was a loss at home to Fiji in the autumn tests. France have tumbled to tenth spot in the world rankings, the lowest since 2003.

Brunel’s record is even worse than that of his predecessor Guy Noves. The French Rugby Federation sacked Noves after two years in the job.

Noves is now claiming substantial damages, with a figure of almost 3 million euros being cited. The case started this week at an industrial tribunal in Toulouse. A decision will be announced on 8 April.

But Laporte insists that the problem lies with the club system rather than the quality of coaching. He made his point in an interview with the Dauphiné Libéré newspaper.

“French rugby has been in difficulty for ten years. It’s ten years that we haven’t been winning”, said Laporte, himself a former coach of Les Bleus. “You have to realise that the system is creating players that are not good enough. That’s why we need to change things.”

Laporte doesn’t believe that appointing a new coach would have any effect.

“You can’t react to every defeat. The main thing is to reflect so that we can find solutions. It’s true that it is a massive building job”, he added.


Written by Colin Renton