France names Brunel as new rugby union coach in wake of poor 2017 results

France names Brunel as new rugby union coach in wake of poor 2017 results
FILE PHOTO - Rugby Union - Wales v Italy - RBS Six Nations Championship 2016 - Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales - 19/3/16 Former Italy head coach Jacques Brunel before the match Action Images via Reuters / Andrew Boyers Livepic
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PARIS (Reuters) – Union Bordeaux Begles boss Jacques Brunel has replaced Guy Noves as the head coach of France, in advance of next year’s Six Nations championship, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on Wednesday.

Noves was sacked after a disappointing run as coach of the national side, winning seven matches in his 22-game tenure since taking over from Philippe Saint-Andre after the 2015 World Cup.

Brunel, 63, will take up the new role after Saturday’s Top 14 match between Bordeaux Begles and Stade Francais.

“I wish it had lasted all the way to (the 2019 Rugby World Cup in) Japan with Guy and his staff but at some point, something had to be done,” FFR president Bernard Laporte said in a statement.

“We could not stay that way anymore and we took our responsibility. This is a painful situation for him and for us but we could not continue like this.

“Several people could have aspired to (the job) but I know Jacques Brunel well. He has the experience. He is the person who can shoulder this heavy responsibility.”

Noves’ departure was announced following France’s poor run of results in the autumn internationals, where they lost to South Africa, twice to New Zealand and drew 23-23 with Japan in their final match.

France will kick off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland at the Stade de France on Feb. 3.

(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Andrew Bolton)

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