France 9-8 Wales, Rugby World Cup, October 15, 2011
Lievremont slams players - again
October 16, 2011
Marc Lievremont's press conferences throughout the Rugby World Cup have been anything but dull © Getty Images
France head coach Marc Lievremont labelled some of his players "spoilt brats" in an astonishing attack in the wake of their dramatic Rugby World Cup semi-final win over Wales.
In the latest of a series of bizarre press conferences, Lievremont told the assembled media that he was in a bad mood despite his side's historic victory because certain individuals within the squad had disobeyed direct orders and gone out after Saturday night's victory.
Lievremont refused to name the players involved but launched a stunning verbal attack on those responsible. "I had asked the players not to go out and I found out that a few of them had gone out," he explained. "So we spoke about it this morning and I told them what I thought of them. I told them they are a bunch of spoiled brats. Undisciplined, disobedient, sometimes selfish. Always complaining. And it's been like this for four years. But at the same time we're in the final. And as I said yesterday we have to believe in this destiny."
Lievremont then tried to play down the significance of the latest player revolt with a World Cup Final showdown with either Australia or New Zealand awaiting them next weekend. "It's really not very important," he said. "It is not a few cigarettes or a desert or a few drinks which will affect the preparation for the final."
Controversy has plagued the French squad in recent months with Lievremont, who will step down after the World Cup, accusing his players of cowardice following their shock Six Nations defeat at the hands of Italy in March. Veterans Dimitri Yachvili and Imanol Harinordoquy were also publicly criticised for their performances in the opening World Cup victory over Japan while there were reports of a player rebellion in the wake of their back-to-back defeats to New Zealand and Tonga.
Lievremont attempted to rally his troops in the wake of their shock loss to the Tongans but saw his offer of a "few beers" rebuffed by the players. However, his side have since shrugged off concerns about their unity to beat both England and Wales in the knock out stages and book a third World Cup Final appearance.
Reflecting in his side's victory over Wales, Lievremont was also in a more positive mood. "The Welsh played a great, pragmatic game and it was great to watch our defence," he said. "We had great communication and we had a lot of encouragement between the players and there were no penalties in the last 20 minutes, apart from one that I thought was not justified. We used everything in our French armoury in order to win this match. I thought the sending-off was totally justified and it is not my fault if other people do not agree.''
Looking ahead to his side's final appearance, he suggested a re-match with the All Blacks would be his preference. "For me, it would be a dream to play the All Blacks in the final."
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