Rugby World Cup 2011

Harinordoquy hits out at coach

2011-10-04 16:40
Imanol Harinordoquy (File)

Auckland - French forward Imanol Harinordoquy has slammed coach Marc Lievremont for criticising the players in public after the defeat to Tonga in the team's final Rugby World Cup pool game last weekend.

Harinordoquy was named at No 8 for Saturday's quarter-final against England at Eden Park on Tuesday after coming off the bench during the 19-14 defeat to the Pacific islanders.

Lievremont described his "shame" at the display against Tonga, comparing the team to the disgraced French squad which spectacularly melted down at last year's Soccer World Cup.

"I am not happy because all the media know what he said," Harinordoquy said.

"I think there are things that have to stay in the room when you speak between the coach and players.

"He can say that to us, that is not a problem, but I prefer that those kind of things stay in the room."

Lievremont told the media his players were guilty of cowardice after the French lost to Italy in the Six Nations earlier this year and there have been a rash of reports about divisions in the French camp at the World Cup.

Harinordoquy will win his 75th cap on Saturday and said the French certainly had to improve on their displays in the pool stage, where they won two and lost two.

"We have to change our mentality for this match," he said. "To be more aggressive, to fight, to play like we know we can.

"The props, the locks and the back row have to think about the fight first, not think about the game.

"I don't know if they are a stronger side than us, but I do know it will be a tough match," he added.

"I don't know if there will be a lot of passing in this match, but there will be a lot of fighting.

"We will have to have a big defence, good discipline and to score points when we have the chance."

England have knocked France out in the semi-finals for the last two World Cups and Harinordoquy said he hoped the French campaign will finally ignite on Saturday.

"This is the most important match for us," he said. "It can be the match which makes the difference for everybody, for us, for our supporters, for France... I hope the competition will start for us on Saturday."

Asked about his famous antipathy towards the English, who he once described as "extremely unpleasant, chauvinistic and arrogant", the 31-year-old initially pretended he did not understand the question.

"Always a big fan of the England team," he laughed.


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