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Speculation mounting on who will takeover from failing Noves regime

Fabien Galthie

Fabien Galthie has rejected suggestions he could replace France coach Guy Noves, whose future is under scrutiny following a dismal November series.

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FFR president Bernard Laporte has said he will allow himself a fortnight’s reflection before deciding on Noves’ future, his coaching staff, and even a number of players.

But speculation is mounting that the former Toulouse’s coach’s time in charge of Les Bleus is short. Only France Barbarians – the nation’s ‘A’ side – won their November match against Maori All Blacks. The nominal first team lost to New Zealand, South Africa and scraped a draw against Japan.

Asked at a press conference ahead of Toulon’s Top 14 match against Lyon whether he would be interested in taking the Marcoussis hotseat if it should become vacant, Galthie said: “Frankly, no … The question has not even come up … It’s an interesting subject, but as far as I am concerned it is off-topic.”

Read more: 9 coaches who could take on France job if it all goes bad for Noves

His comments came hours before the LNR, which runs the Top 14 and ProD2 professional leagues, surprisingly called on the FFR to speed up negotiations over the development of international players.

The LNR said in a statement that it “is ready to start as soon as possible joint work with the FFR on a roadmap for the development of a new convention that was agreed last May”.

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A new agreement on the release and training of a 45-strong elite squad of players is due to be renegotiated before next June. But Les Bleus’ disastrous November series prompted the LNR to call for greater urgency.

Any future convention should help advance “priority issues” for French rugby, the LNR said – including, “the emergence and playing time of a new generation of players constituting the breeding ground of the XV of France”, as well as “optimising the welfare and provision of international players”, and improving relations between the amateur and professional game in France.

The move is a blatant LNR attempt to steal a march on FFR President Laporte, who is riding a wave since France’s successful bid to host the 2023 World Cup. Tensions have been simmering in the twin corridors of French rugby power since Laporte was elected to the presidency in December 2016.

Read more: The opening salvos in French rugby’s new battle over central contracts have begun

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He had enjoyed some early success. After winning the presidency by appealing to the hearts and minds of amateur clubs, he forced the LNR to expand the nascent elite player squad from 30 to 45.

But – until the World Cup vote – a conflict of interest scandal had threatened to overshadow his brief presidency. His alleged involvement in an FFR appeals committee decision to reduce sanctions against Montpellier, remains the subject of a government investigation. The club is owned by the Altrad Group which also sponsors France’s shirts and with whom Laporte had a separate business relationship.

The successful World Cup bid effectively silenced most of the criticism – but the November debacle gave the LNR a chance to take a new rugby high ground. In its statement, it said it “will approach with determination and responsibility these fundamental discussions for the future of French rugby leading to the 2019 and 2023 World Cups”.

Suddenly, Laporte is on the back foot again…

 

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William 2 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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