French players led by former skipper Lionel Nallet have denied reports
that there has been an “uprising” in their camp against coach Marc
“I have been hearing stories, rumours about little
uprisings by the players and a lot of nonsense like that,” said Nallet
who was the French captain under Lievremont from January 2008 until
“At the moment, there is a very good atmosphere in our squad and we are all united with each other.
“Yesterday, we had a debriefing after the match (37-17 loss to New Zealand) with the coaches and it went off very well.”
about discontent in the 30-strong French squad were circulating even
before the French arrived in New Zealand, with an unnamed player quoted
as saying 25 of them were against the coach.
“That makes me laugh,” said Nallet. If we were 25 against Marc Lievremont, we would all have been aware of that by now.”
is clear is that Lievremont has had his problems with the media and
with some of his players, since they have been in New Zealand.
the loss to the All Blacks, he lashed out at French journalists
covering his team saying there was a “detestable” atmosphere at his
media briefings which left him angry and upset.
He then had to
talk to No.8 Louis Picamoles and fullback Damien Traille, who had
demanded explanations for why they were replaced at halftime in the All
Earlier in the tournament, he upset Dimitri
Yachvili, Imanol Harinordoquy and Francois Trinh-Duc by lambasting them
publicly for their individual performances in the win over Japan.
however, insisted there were no problems with Traille and Picamoles,
who were only expressing their natural frustrations at not playing the
full 80 minutes against the All Blacks.
“The players have every right to express their feelings,” he said.
and Damien both came to speak to me after what they said was reported
in the press but, as I don’t the press any more, I told them that they
had no need to worry.”
Lievremont, who played flanker in the
French team that reached the 1999 final, was a surprise appointment as
national team coach four years ago, taking over from Bernard Laporte
after the last World Cup.
But relations between him and sections
of the French media have steadily deteriorated, especially over
criticism of his ever-changing selection policies, and the ill-feeling
has been apparent in New Zealand.
The French won their first two matches against Japan and Canada before losing heavily to the All Blacks.
need just one point against Tonga in their final match next Saturday to
ensure a place in the quarter-finals and a likely showdown with
England, who defeated France in the semi-finals in Paris four years ago.