Philippe Saint-Andre (AP)
London - France's World Cup was a "total failure", the country's rugby federation chief said Monday after the crushing 62-13 quarter-final defeat to New Zealand.
"We had fixed important targets, so this defeat was a total failure," Pierre Camou, French Rugby Federation (FFR) president, told AFP.
"You have to admit it. We are in a difficult moment, it would be stupid to deny it."
"I am the first to admit this and I assume, as president of the federation, absolute responsibility," he added in an interview.
Coach Philippe Saint-André, the former national captain, ended a difficult four years in charge with the defeat at Cardiff on Saturday.
It was France's worst World Cup since 1991 and they have not been in the top three places in the Six Nations in any year of Saint-Andre's reign.
Camou said the federation executive board would have an emergency meeting in Paris on Thursday when he expects "everyone to speak freely."
The FFR leader said France would have to consider introducing central contracts as New Zealand, Australia and Ireland have.
The contracts make sure players are free for internationals and are not over burdened with club games.
Australia under the advice of coach Michael Cheika relaxed their rules earlier this year to allow players playing overseas and with over 60 caps such as centre Matt Giteau and wing Drew Mitchell, who play for European champions Toulon, to once again become eligible to be selected.
However, others such as England-based Dean Mumm -- who had less than 60 Test appearances -- had to return to Australia to fight for a place in the squad.
Camou also criticised France's powerful Top 14 championship for not giving more help to young players.
"For six years we have been trying to reform everything, the age groups, the teams," he said. "But the kids don't play in Top 14. They never play. But the best training is playing."