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French Rugby Has Made A Long Awaited Announcement...

French Rugby Has Made A Long Awaited Announcement...
By Conor Neville Updated

Even in the unlikely event that France win the World Cup this year, they will be looking for a new coach afterwards.

France's buccaneering swansong in Twickenham last month will be Philippe Saint-Andre's last Six Nations game as national team coach. The French Rugby Federation have announced they are on the lookout for candidates for the job to take the team forward after October. The job was formally advertised earlier today.

The good news for Irish fans is that Philippe Saint-Andre will get his shot at redemption in the World Cup.

The England game was violently out of sync with the general tenor of Saint-Andre's reign, which had almost no redeeming features. The team played terrible rugby and lost most of their matches. Unthinkably, France failed to finish higher than fourth in the table in the last four years. Supporters found it hard to square their memories of Saint-Andre the player, with the type of rugby he inculcated as coach.

He claimed, with some justification, that the nature of the Top 14, which is both highly exacting and extremely internationalist in its make-up, made life difficult for the coach of the national team.

The word is that Bordeaux coach and former international hooker Raphael Ibanez is favourite for the job. Montpellier's Fabian Galthie and Guy Noves (if he can tear himself away from Toulouse) are also being touted as candidates.


The news will provoke mixed feelings for Irish rugby fans. The romantics, a la George Hook, may profess themselves happy to see the old France back.

However, it is undeniable that Philippe Saint-Andre was an enormously helpful France coach as far as the fortunes of this country were concerned. In four Six Nations games against Saint Andre's France, Ireland won two and drew two games.

This against a team who Ireland could almost never beat in the year's before he took the job. Let's hope a golden age is not about to pass.



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