France will not have foreign coach after clubs reject idea in referendum
By Joe Shread
Last Updated: 12/04/19 12:32pm
France will not appoint a foreign coach for the foreseeable future after the country's clubs rejected the idea in a referendum.
Federation Francaise de Rugby (FFR) president Bernard Laporte asked all French clubs whether they would support a foreign coach being brought in to lead France for the first time in their history.
Only 51 per cent of clubs responded, with 59 per cent of those saying they would not support the idea, while 41 per cent said they would.
Laporte responded to the clubs' decision, saying: "It's important for me to give the floor to the clubs. For two years, the FFR has taken a turning point in democratisation. We have installed direct democracy, and the referendum to associate clubs with important decisions.
"The XV of France belongs first to rugby clubs that train our future international players.
"The preparation of the 2023 World Cup, which we are proud to organise in France, is a great opportunity to associate them with the choice of the future coach.
"The question of the French or foreign nationality of the coach of the XV of France is sometimes a debate. To decide this, 59 per cent of the clubs do not to want a coach of foreign nationality.
"I welcome this democratic expression and of course, I will respect this choice. We can move forward serenely to build the necessary conditions with the goal of winning the World Cup in 2023."
The result of the referendum removes the possibility of Warren Gatland leading France. Reports suggested the New Zealander, who is leaving Wales after the World Cup, was on the FFR's shortlist to replace Jacques Brunel.