Noves ‘to end France’s blues’

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The French rugby federation said on Sunday that the 61-year-old had agreed to a four-year contract to replace Philippe Saint-Andre, who took over after the side lost the 2011 World Cup final to hosts New Zealand.

“I am happy and proud of this nomination,” said Noves, who has been Toulouse coach since 1993.

“Representing my country is a great honour and a great responsibility.”

His two assistant coaches would be named in November, the French federation added.

Noves was one of eight candidates interviewed by the FFR. Media reports suggested that Clive Woodward, who led England to their World Cup title in 2003, was one of the candidates.

French sports daily L’Equipe reported that he will be assisted by current France forwards coach Yannick Bru and Stade Francais backs coach Jean-Frederic Dubois.

France have been drawn in Group D at the September 18-October 31 World Cup being held in England, alongside Canada, Ireland, Italy and Romania.

Under Saint-Andre, France never finished higher than fourth in the Six Nations, failing to produce the kind of free-flowing game that made Les Bleus’s reputation.

They even ended up with the wooden spoon in the 2013 Six Nations, the first time in 14 years France finished last in the championship.

Noves, a fierce partisan of free-spirited attacking style, benefits from one of the best reputations in French rugby, having led Toulouse to 10 French titles and four European Cup titles.

“It is a good thing to see Guy Noves arrive. I think 2011 was the right time so we can say that France have lost four years,” former France coach Pierre Berbizier was quoted as saying by L’Equipe. – Reuters

Original source: Noves ‘to end France’s blues’

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