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Laporte backs under-fire Brunel


'It's the system' - Bernard Laporte comes to the defence of the man he appointed

FFR rugby boss Bernard Laporte believes Jacques Brunel is still the right man to have in charge of the France national team.

Brunel was given the job by Laporte after the French federation unceremoniously sacked Guy Noves in December 2017, a controversial parting of the ways that has seen the ousted coach take his former employers to an employment tribunal this Thursday in Toulouse.

Poor results was one reason why Noves lost his job even though he was contracted through to the end of the 2019 World Cup.

However, while Brunel’s three wins from 13 matches is a 23 percent record that is worse than Noves’ 35.7 percent (seven wins and a draw in 21 matches), Laporte has called for patience following a terrible start to their latest Six Nations campaign. Their opening round home loss to Wales was followed by last Sunday’s 44-8 hammering away to England.

“We will not react to every defeat, we have to think about finding solutions,” he told French newspaper Dauphiné Libéré in an interview published on Thursday morning prior to the Noves hearing in Toulouse got under way.

“It’s been 10 years since we did not win. I’m always told that it’s the coaches’ fault, but after a while you have to realise that it’s the system that makes players not better at this level.”

The 2011 World Cup finalists last won the Six Nations in 2010. Since then their Top 14 league has been flooded by a multitude of big money overseas signings, a trend that has stymied the conveyor belt of indigenous French talent making the breakthrough.

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Laporte believes solving this problem goes much deeper than securing winning results at Test level. “We must change things… and go even further,” he said.

“The appointment of Jacques Brunel has helped us to better understand the clubs, to work better together in the image of the convention signed with the clubs,” continued the FFR boss, who insisted he is optimistic for the future. “We have young under-20 people who were world champions eight months ago.”

Noves is seeking compensation worth around €2.9million, a sum consisting of the remaining wages due and various damages.

It’s believed, though, that the French federation will allege that Noves had a brittle attitude towards his players and his relations were too distant with the Top 14 clubs.

A verdict on the hearing’s outcome won’t be available until April 8.

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'It's the system' - Bernard Laporte comes to the defence of the man he appointed
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