Jacques Brunel’s chaotic France reign has been dealt another blow with Sebastien Vahaamahina’s revelation that he didn’t know he was Les Bleus skipper during the fateful closing minutes of their 24-19 Six Nations defeat to Wales.
And things have only quickly gone from to worse in 2019, Brunel’s withdrawal of his core leadership – Louis Picamoles, Morgan Parra and Guilhem Guirado – during last Friday night’s second half playing a large part in France squandering a 16-0 half-time advantage in Paris.
Their disarray was encapsulated by second row Vahaamahina, who threw the ill-advised pass that gifted George North the winning converted try, admitting that he only learned he had taken over the captaincy from the substituted Guirado when referee Wayne Barnes asked him what he wanted to do with a penalty award.
“I did not even know I was a captain,” Vahaamahina told Midi Olympique in the aftermath of a defeat that heaps further pressure on the beleaguered Brunel.
“It was the referee who came to see me on a penalty to ask me my choice. I told him to address the captain. He said it was me. The staff did not warn me.”
France were winning 19-17 before Vahaamahina’s pass swung the result Wales’ way eight minutes from time, and Brunel critics are using the way the lock found out about being captain to bolster claims that the team is suffering from very poor management.
Midi Olympique even interviewed a psychiatrist to analyse what is going wrong internally with France. “We are faced with a remarkable case of neurosis of failure,” claimed Marcel Rufo, who slammed the team’s failure to take responsibility for its defeats.
“To believe in fate, in such activities, it’s the domain of the delusional! They continue to deny and take responsibility for their failure. Yet, they are indeed the ones responsible.
“Their psychological process makes players feel comfortable in defeat. This prevents them from confronting their difficulties, their fears. The Welsh, at 0-16, they did not panic. They remained confident of their strength, built their second half.”
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