Italy 22-21 France, Six Nations, Stadio Flaminio, March 12
Lievremont turns on French players
ESPNscrum Staff
March 13, 2011
France coach Marc Lievremont faces the media following his side's defeat to Italy, Rome, Italy, March 13, 2011
Marc Lievremont faces the media after France's defeat to Italy in Rome © Getty Images

France coach Marc Lievremont has accused his players of lacking courage after their surprise Six Nations defeat to Italy and warned some of them that they may never play for the national team again.

France had led 18-6 in the 50th minute but an abject second-half display from the visitors and an inspired effort from the hosts led to Italy scraping over the line 22-21. In the wake of the devastating defeat, which ended France's hopes of defending their Six Nations crown, Lievremont admitted he is now at a loss as to how to turn around his side's form in time for the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.

"In terms of the tactics deployed, it defied belief. I did not recognise anything in their performance that we had worked on," he told AFP. "Do I feel responsible for that? No, they betrayed us, they have betrayed me and they have betrayed the French national team shirt.

"Do you really think that I told them to play as they did against Italy? I was ashamed. I do not have the impression we asked them to walk on the moon. I do not ask for complicated things.

"This match was an hallucination. I do not want to clear myself from the blame but they invented things on the pitch. They are lacking in courage. They are good guys but cursed with what is obviously cowardice. They are not even capable of admitting to their own mistakes. Perhaps it is a trend among the new generation.

"I have already looked several players in the eyes and told them they would be at the World Cup. All that is now up in the air. The Italy match means we are back at the starting gate. What is for sure is that certain players have worn the French shirt for the last time."

Prop Sylvain Marconnet, lock Jerome Thion, No.8 Sebastien Chabal, centre Yannick Jauzion, fullback Clement Pointrenaud and centre Aurelien Rougerie have all been dropped in the wake of the Rome defeat with Perpignan's Jerome Schuster and David Marty, Stade Francais' Pascal Pape, Clermont's Alexandre Lapandry and the Brive duo of Fabrice Estebanez and Alexis Palisson called up.

France squad:

Forwards: Nicolas Mas (Perpignan), Thomas Domingo (Clermont), Luc Ducalcon (Castres), Jerome Schuster (Perpignan), William Servat (Toulouse), Guilhem Guirado (Perpignan), Lionel Nallet (Racing-Metro), Julien Pierre (Clermont), Pascal Pape (Stade Francais), Thierry Dusautoir (Toulouse, capt.), Julien Bonnaire (Clermont), Imanol Harinordoquy (Biarritz), Alexandre Lapandry (Clermont)

Backs: Morgan Parra (Clermont), Julien Tomas (Montpellier), Francois Trinh-Duc (Montpellier), Fabrice Estebanez (Brive), David Marty (Perpignan), Vincent Clerc (Toulouse), Yoann Huget (Bayonne), Maxime Medard (Toulouse), Damien Traille (Biarritz), Alexis Palisson (Brive)

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