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France's verbal rocket and vote

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Outlandish French campaign's latest twist involves the captaincy... again

France’s miserable Six Nations has been eventful, to say the least.

Everything from Sebastien Vahaamahina only learning on the pitch from referee Wayne Barnes that he was suddenly the captain against Wales, to Jacques Brunel calling a player into the squad in the week of the England match whose arrival was delayed as he was on holiday. 

They now head into their round three assignment at home to Scotland on the back on the revelation that skipper Guilhem Guirado was the subject of a players’ vote to remain on as captain last Friday on the same day that French rugby federation boss Bernard Laporte gave the squad a verbal rocket at Marcoussis. 

According to French rugby newspaper Midi Olympique, Laporte was invited to address the players without the presence of under-fire coach Brunel, who has won just one of his last nine matches in charge.

Laporte, the Six Nations title-winning coach from 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2007, didn’t bite his tongue when given the chance to speak following the hammering by England at Twickenham, allegedly telling the players in no uncertain terms: “When we take 40 points, we shut up!”

Reports also claim that Brunel later intervened before afternoon training, addressing some criticism made of him and asking Guirado if he wished to give up the captaincy amid the growing crisis surrounding the team. 

(Continue reading below…)

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The players opted to take some time among themselves and they then voted unanimously for Guirado to remain on as skipper. They also appointed a player leadership group tasked with raising issues with staff and to also have a daily debrief every evening after work. 

Brunel, meanwhile, has rebuffed claims that Fabien Galthie, who would have played for France under Laporte, has been lined up to come on board the coaching staff. 

“The name of Fabien Galthie has never circulated, I do not read the press… I never thought of bringing him in. I have a staff and I’m good with my staff,’ insisted Brunel after he unveiled a team on Tuesday to face Scotland that shows four changes from the heavy defeat to England. 

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Outlandish French campaign's latest twist involves the captaincy... again