France’s squad have been thrown into turmoil ahead of their clash with England after reports of a rift between captain Guilhem Guirado and senior management.
France progressed to the playoffs after labouring to a 23-21 win against Tonga, following Pool C rivals Argentina’s loss to England. However, their performances at the World Cup have left a lot to be desired as they needed a late flurry of tries to beat the USA 33-9 after leading 12-9 for most of the match.
French newspaper Midi Olympique reports there has been a fallout between Guirado and France’s coaching staff, which includes Fabien Galthie, who is set to replace current head coach Jacques Brunel after the World Cup.
Guirado has not started a match since the opener against Argentina, which France won 23-21, with Camille Chat preffered as the starting hooker and Jefferson Poirot as captain.
Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal has added more tension to the situation by criticising the French coaching staff and calling on the players to take control of the campaign.
‘Take control guys, take the power, because there are coaches all over the place. Our team spirit is almost non-existent,’ Boudjellal was quoted. ‘Individually, we have players who are world class. Collectively, for several years, that hasn’t been the case.’
France next face England in a game that will decide who finishes first and second in Pool C. Brunel looks set to continue with Chat as his starting hooker and keep Poirot on as captain.
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