Lievremont is new coach of France
October 24, 2007

Former Test back rower Marc Lievremont will succeed departed coach Bernard Laporte in charge of France.

Lievremont, whose brother Thomas also played for Les Bleus, won promotion for Dax into France's Top 14.

He will be assisted with the backs by former wing and national captain Emile Ntamack, who coaches the youth team coach at Toulouse and led France's Under-21s - including player of the tournament Lionel Beauxis - to the 2006 World Cup title on home soil. Didier Retière, who also worked with the U21s, will assist with the forwards.

"I realise that I am at the centre of a lot of attention and of hopes for the future," Lievremont said.

"I also understand that some people are disappointed, legitimately or not, but I consider myself to be a man with convictions surrounding both the sport and on the human front.

"I have not asked for anything from anyone. I respect all the coaches who were viable candidates for the post, but it is not for me to justify what has happened."

The appointments scotched previous suggestions that Philippe Saint-Andre of Sale or Fabien Galthie of Stade Francais might be in line for Laporte's job.

Other candidates put up in previous reports have included Patrice Lagisquet of Biarritz and the long-serving Toulouse head coach, Guy Noves.

Jean-Claude Skrela, the technical director of French rugby, said: "Marc Lievremont is a real player, a winner who never lets go and he knows the players in the French championship well.

"He was the ideal candidate for what is a turning point for French rugby."

Lievremont's last international was the 1999 World Cup final defeat against Australia. He will work alongside Jo Maso, who stays on in his 12-year role of team manager.


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