Noves to lead France after WCup

2015-06-03 15:28
Toulouse head coach Guy Noves will take over as coach of France after the Rugby World Cup later this year. PHOTO: getty images

PARIS — Toulouse legend Guy Noves will take over as head coach of France after the Rugby World Cup later this year, the French federation announced yesterday.

The 61-year-old — who turned the job down in 2011 — has an unrivalled record as a coach guiding Toulouse to 10 national titles and four European Cups.

He will replace Philippe Saint-Andre, who has served just one term, on November 1, the day after the World Cup finishes.

“To be at the head of the France XV and to represent one’s country is both a great honour and a heavy responsibility,” said Noves in a statement released by the French federation yesterday.

Pierre Camou, president of the federation, said they had secured the services of a man with an unrivalled record.

“With Guy Noves, the FFR [Federation] and the France team can count on the passion but also the competence of the most beautiful record in French rugby,” said Camou.

Noves, who could yet add an 11th national title to his CV as Toulouse are in the semi-finals after beating Oyonnax on Saturday, saw off opposition from among others former France captains Raphael Ibanez and Fabien Galthie, both considerably younger than him, and reportedly England’s 2003 World Cup winning coach Clive Woodward.

In all the federation selected a short list of eight names from the original 66 candidates.

Seven members of the federation, including Camou and former national coach Jean-Claude Skrela as well as the eminence grise of French rugby former dashing centre and team manager Jo Maso, held two-hour interviews with each of the octet in a Paris hotel.

Noves won after a secret ballot at the French Rugby Federation (FFR) headquarters on Friday, which was the first time this mode of selection was used.

Saint-Andre, who replaced the much-maligned Marc Lievremont in 2011 after he had against all expectation guided France to the World Cup final and a narrow loss to hosts New Zealand, has failed to replicate the success he enjoyed at English club Sale and then at French giants Toulon.

However, there is no question of Noves intervening during the spell leading up to the World Cup in ­England in September and October.

“Guy Noves will remain silent so as to allow the French squad to work in the calmest atmosphere before and during the main objective for this year the World Cup,” the federation said in the statement.



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