Rugby World Cup 2011
Rougerie walks out of press conference
October 19, 2011
Rougerie was unhappy with the "bland" questions during Wednesday's press conference © Getty Images
France centre Aurelien Rougerie stormed out of a press conference on Wednesday in another clash between the World Cup finalists and the media.
Rougerie claimed he was tired of the "bland" questioning levelled at him during the media opportunity and walked out leaving team-mate Lionel Nallet to fend the questions. And after coach Marc Lievremont had labelled his side "spoilt brats" after they took to the town following their semi-final win over Wales despite their coach's wish otherwise, Nallet admitted that he did not appreciate his coach's words.
"I did not appreciate it at all but that is just my opinion," Nallet said. "We already knew that the week was going to be complicated enough so perhaps there was no reason to add to that pressure. Quite truthfully, I did not like what he said. I do not want to go on about it. "We have a final to play and we are not going to be focusing on things like this."
Lievremont admitted on Wednesday that it would have perhaps been in his best interests to have kept his "big fat mouth shut" after he lambasted his players. With rumours persisting throughout the tournament of a split between the players and the coaches, Lievremont's comments would have only served to add fuel to those claims. "I should have kept my big fat mouth shut when I saw myself quoted all over the front pages of the written press," Lievremont said. "I said those things in summing up their behaviour over the last four years and to put some pressure on them.
"We spoke about it. Above all, they need us to be as one. When you spend four months with 30 players, you can't always be unanimous about things. I am not there to be my players' friend but to lead them to the end. We've done that and I hope to go a little further still."
Lievremont had previously labelled the atmosphere at French conferences "detestable" and told the media to "go to hell with your questions." And Nallet believes the 'us and them' mentality between the French team and the media has only served to bring the squad "closer together." "We've been getting massacred for a while now," Nallet said. "I don't see why I should be angry with the team. We're in the World Cup final. Obviously I would have liked to be 20 points up against Wales. There's been no recognition, that's for sure. If we win this match, there will be."
Ahead of the World Cup final on Sunday, the All Blacks lost the toss concerning who would be the 'home' side in the match meaning they would potentially have had to do away with their traditional all-black kit. However, team manager Jo Maso opted to let New Zealand sport their famous colours - a notion which Lievremont admitted was potentially the wrong decision.
"I'm sure some of my players feel sorry about that," Lievremont said. "They would obviously have wanted to deprive the All Blacks of their preferred playing kit."
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