Play La Marseillaise; Play It!

Freddie’s back at No10 and Les Bleus have scored 94 points in three games in front of clamourous home crowds, hammering the Wallabies 33-6 before gutting the Pumas 39-19, then breaking down a super-physical Samoan challenge to ride out 22-14 winners and end their series undefeated. Something is very, very right with French rugby at the moment. That isn’t a good advent for Ireland, but it does wonders for the rugby world as a whole. Continue reading

Philippe Saint André Has The Toughest Job In Rugby

The three amigos of the new French coaching set-up. Their players haven't given them what they've been looking for, but what are they giving the players?

The Mole was more than a little surprised when Philippe Saint André was announced as France’s next coach before RWC11. Despite the fact that France came as near as you can feasibly come to winning the trophy as you can get without actually winning it, the Lievremont era had degenerated into farce, and it was clear that the next coach had to be less volatile, more media savvy and more experienced. Continue reading

Great Coach … Or Just A Good Set Of Initials?

French rugby looks to be in a good place. Runners-up in a World Cup Final they could have won, playing in spite of a coach who had led them on the most bizarre journey over the previous three years; now coached by an experienced and well-liked former international who has been around the houses and never talks bombastically. France sit comfortably as favourites for the 6N championship. Continue reading

Saint-Andre’s About Winning, Not Rebuilding

Oui, c'est vrai

France look set to emerge as the pre-eminent force in Europe under Philippe Saint-Andre. While The Mole had an awful lot of time for Marc Lievremont as a person, there were always huge question-marks over his selection policy, how he dealt with his players and fellow coaches … in fact, there were question marks over pretty much every aspect of his management during his time at the helm. Continue reading

Now That’s a Vote of Confidence

Oh, don't mind me. I'll just hang around here in Montpellier being the obvious man for the job.

In the words of Montell Jordan, “This is how we do it“: the FFR have given their backing to coach Marc Lievremont as he prepares his French team for the world cup on the back of home and away wins against Ireland by telling him that he’s out of a job after the tournament, regardless of the result. Ooh-la-la-la-la-la-la. Ce n’est pas formidable, mes amis etc. Continue reading