Paris - Second rower Sebastien Vahaamahina admitted he didn't know he was the France captain for the final 20 minutes of the Six Nations defeat to Wales - until being told by the referee.
Vahaamahina, 27, took over from skipper Guilhem Guirado who substituted after 58 minutes last Friday despite no-one from the French coaching staff telling the giant lock before the game or as Guirado left the field.
"It was the referee (Wayne Barnes) who came to tell me," said Vahaamahina who was captaining his country for the first time since making his debut in 2012.
"I told him to address the captain; he said it was me. The coaching staff did not warn me," he told newspaper Midi Olympique.
Vahaamahina was at fault for the visitors' winning try gifting George North a touchdown with an attempted 30m pass which was intercepted by the wing.
The Clermont giant added he asked other players on the field for advice before choosing on-field options.
"I spoke to the half-backs and to Louis Picamoles about what decision to make."
Les Bleus vice-captain for Test matches last year was Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud but he was dropped by coach Jacques Brunel and replaced for the Six Nations opener by teenage debutant Romain Ntamack.