News24

Chabal 'shouted at coach'

2012-02-07 15:06

Paris - Sebastien Chabal's departure from French Top 14 side Racing Metro was inevitable, the club chairperson said on Tuesday, after a shouting match involving both of them and club coach Pierre Berbizier.

The iconic forward was sent packing last Thursday after the showdown which followed weeks of growing tension between the player and his coach.

The 34-year-old, capped 62 times by France, signed for Racing in 2009 on a contract worth €750 000 euros a season, but there was a question mark over him getting a new deal at the end of this season.

Club chairman Jacky Lorenzetti said that Chabal and his agents had been at him for the last few months to take a clear position on a new contract, but at a meeting last Monday he had told them he could not do that as yet.

"I have Italian roots, Sebastien is a strong personality and Pierre is a mountain man - so the lid came off this pressure-cooker and words were exchanged, words that left it impossible for us to work together properly in the future.

"The next day I saw Sebastien again and he asked me to choose between himself and Pierre. I told him my choice was for the staff we have already with Pierre Berbizier as its chief. The rest was obvious that we needed rapidly to go our separate ways.

While Chabal's value as a useful publicity figure continued to match his on-field performances during his first season at Racing, making the starring Top 14 XV in L'Equipe newspaper, his playing form has drastically fallen away of late.

He failed to make the France squad for the 2011 World Cup, left to ply his trade at poorly-attended home games in Paris when the eyes of the rugby world were firmly fixed on New Zealand, where the French narrowly lost in the final to the hosts.

His last game in the colours of Les Bleus was the shock 22-21 defeat by Italy in the 2011 Six Nations, and he has made just six starts this season for Racing.

In coach Berbizier, the Parisian club have a hard task master, a former France and Italy coach who is struggling to bring the best out of a team sat in seventh spot in the Top 14.

AFP