Brunel tells players he will take France rugby job

Jacques Brunel has made his mind up to leave Bordeaux-Begles and take over the France reins, one of his club players told AFP on Friday.

With rumours that veteran Guy Noves is on the brink of being fired after two terrible years at the France helm, Brunel has reportedly already told his players he will be the country’s next head coach.

“I haven’t been approached but if I am, I’ve made up my mind and I’ll take over the France team,” Brunel told his squad, one of the Bordeaux players told AFP on condition of anonymity.

“My last match with you will be the trip to Stade Francais on December 30,” added the former Italy coach and France assistant, who led Perpignan to the Top 14 title in 2009.

Bordeaux host Top 14 leaders La Rochelle on Saturday and then travel to the French capital a week later.

Officially, Bordeaux are saying nothing but Brunel’s English backs coach Rory Teague seemed to confirm the news.

“It’s good for Jacques if it’s his choice, but for us, the coaches, the players, we’re focussed on La Rochelle,” he said.

French federation president Bernard Laporte, himself a former France coach, is expected to break the news to Noves on December 27, according to the JDD news outlet.

After two years in charge, Noves has the worst record of any France coach with just seven wins in 21 matches, alongside 13 defeats and a humiliating home draw with 2019 World Cup hosts Japan.

France’s worst year this century was under Noves’s predecessor Philippe Saint-Andre in 2013 (18 percent win ratio) but the next two worst were this year (27 percent) and 12 months ago (40 percent).

In his two years in charge, France have been unable to beat any of New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and England.

France are on a six-match winless run and Noves has been criticised for a lack of selection continuity.

He has used 74 players in two years, just 10 fewer than his two predecessors, Saint-Andre and Thomas Lievremont, did in four years.

And he has called up nine different half-back partnerships in his 21 matches.

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