Top 14 Orange
Laporte takes charge at Toulon
ESPNscrum Staff
September 12, 2011
Phillipe Saint Andre is unveiled as the new France coach, Toulon, France, August 30, 2011
Saint-Andre at the press conference confirming he would take the French post © Getty Images

Toulon have unveiled former France boss Bernard Laporte as the man to replace the outgoing Philippe Saint-Andre.

The former Sale coach will take charge of the French national team following the 2011 World Cup and at a press conference on Monday, influential Toulon owner Mourad Boudjellal confirmed the former Stade boss as the man charged with bringing success to the big spending Top 14 side.

Saint-Andre will take charge of Toulon for the final time on Friday against Bordeaux. And his replacement, Laporte, has signed a two-year deal with the option of a third to take charge at Toulon.

Laporte has a CV rich in French rugby having coached Bordeaux in the past before taking the helm at Stade Francais. He held the post at the Parisian club between 1995 and 1999 before taking charge of the French national side. He enjoyed two Grand Slams with Les Bleus in 2002 and 2004 while also taking the Six Nations crown in 2006 and 2007. However, he failed to obtain the William Webb Ellis crown the French public yearned for.

He left the national post in 2007 following a fourth place finish at their World Cup before taking on the role of French minister for sport between 2007 and 2009. He returned to the Top 14 taking the helm at Bayonne in 2010 but only lasted two months in the post. Since then he has been involved with Stade Francais where he worked with the now Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud.

Saint-Andre's departure from Toulon was shrouded in controversy as Boudjellal originally seemed unwilling to let his head coach leave. However, after a stuttering start to their 2011-12 Top 14 campaign the owner's stance changed. Following their 17-0 home reverse to Clermont Auvergne, Boudjellal spoke out saying: "I feel betrayed or at the very least, as if I've gotten very little for my money. In terms of play, they attempted nothing. But what have we seen in the last three years? What is the style of Monsieur Saint André?"

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