Paris - Under-fire Guy Noves looked doomed on Thursday to become the first French coach axed before the end of his contract after media reports suggesting Bordeaux-Begles boss Jacques Brunel is being lined up to take charge before the start of the Six Nations.
French rugby federation (FFR) president Bernard Laporte is expected to dump Noves on December 27, just five weeks before Les Bleus face Ireland in their Six Nations opener.
Noves, 63, has come under increasing pressure after overseeing six successive defeats and a 23-23 draw in France's most recent outing against Japan.
According to the JDD news outlet, Noves, who took charge after the 2015 World Cup, has the worst record of any French national coach - 14 defeats and a draw in 22 matches.
"He was told of the decision on Thursday, but not in an official manner," reports the JDD.
His assistants, Yannick Bru (forwards coach) and Jean-Frederic Dubois (backs), will also be sacked.
Brunel, who will be 64 on January 14, was once Laporte's right-hand man as forwards coach with the national team from 2000-2007.
Brunel took Perpignan to the French league title in 2009 and spent five years in charge of Italy between 2011 and 2016 before switching to Bordeaux in 2016.
Despite his struggles at the international level, Noves possesses an impressive domestic track record with 10 French titles and four European Cup triumphs during his time with Toulouse.