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Decision due in Noves case

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'He was fired for a serious fault and he still does not know what is being blamed on him'

Fifteen months after his unceremonious sacking as France coach, it will finally be known on Monday what wrong-doing – if any – was done to Guy Noves by his former French rugby bosses.

The 65-year-old has taken a case for €2.9million damages against the French Federation of Rugby for what he described at a February 14 tribunal as “sporting and professional suffering”.

Noves claimed at the hearing that he had been living “very badly” since his ousting from a position he thought was his until this year’s World Cup finals were over. 

However, having won just seven times in 21 matches since taking over from Philippe Saint-Andre, the coach was pushed aside for what the FFR claimed was “serious misconduct” and was replaced by Jacques Brunel, whose own future is under a cloud as results haven’t improved during his tenure.

“I saw my dismissal with a tarpaulin on the head,” said Noves, claiming his eviction was premeditated as FFR president Bernard Laporte wanted him cast aside as they didn’t see eye to eye. 

Noves’ lawyer Laurent Nougarolis explained at the hearing that the reason the claim for damages was so high was that it included unpaid hours of work, including the analysis of the matches in front of the television, and his client’s contracted salary up to November 2019.  

“He was dragged into the mud. He was fired for a serious fault and he still does not know what is being blamed on him,” continued Nougarolis, who noted there was no prior warming before his client was dismissed. 

He furthermore felt that the reason advanced by the FFR for alleged serious misconduct was unfounded, adding that other reasons –  such as lack of support from players, quarrels among staff and lack of dialogue with Top 14 coaches – were misleading.  

Noves’ claim for damages was ridiculed by the legal team of the FFR, a federation that reported a €7.35m deficit it its annual accounts in 2017/18. “No coach in any team or any sport has ever dared to ask for overtime, it’s proof of oversized pride,” said Joseph Aguerra.  

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'He was fired for a serious fault and he still does not know what is being blamed on him'