New Zealand 8-7 France, Rugby World Cup, October 23, 2011
Lievremont bows out
October 23, 2011
Marc Lievremont came desperately close to leading France to a first World Cup success © Getty Images
Marc Lievremont faced the media as France boss one last time on Monday and admitted that he hoped that his players would eventually think as fondly of him as he does of them.
Lievremont repeatedly criticised his troops in public during his tenure, prompting rumours of unrest in the camp at several junctures, most recently after their Rugby World Cup semi-final win over Wales when the colourful coach labelled some members of his squad as "spoilt brats" for disobeying offers not to go out and celebrate after their fortuitous win.
Lievremont concedes now that he should not have lambasted his players in public and hopes that doing so will ensure that the memory of their time together will not be soured.
"That is a term [spoiled brats] I use with my brothers and sisters," he said. "I take responsibility for that and the timing wasn't probably right. I know some of them were not happy with me.
"I have great admiration for my players and I hope in the coming weeks they will feel the same way about me."
Indeed, Lievremont was keen to lavish praise on a group who managed to recover from two defeats in the pool stages and shrug off a most unconvincing win over Wales in the last four to give the All Blacks an almighty scare in the tournament decider before eventually coming out on the wrong side of a 8-7 scoreline.
"We made it to the final. We made the All Blacks tremble and that is where we are now," said the departing coach, who will be replaced at the helm by Philippe Saint-Andre.
"I thought the performance of the French players was beautiful. They put in a great performance. They played great rugby.
"We were looking for three consecutive wins and it wasn't there. It is hard when you are up against a whole nation."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.