France will not have foreign coach after clubs reject idea in referendum

France will not have foreign coach after clubs reject idea in referendum

A total 59% of respondants said they wanted the next national team coach to be French, the FFR confirmed on Friday morning.

Former All Black Warren Gatland will not be taking over France following the Rugby World Cup after French clubs rejected the notion of a foreign coach.

FFR president Bernard Laporte says "I welcome this democratic expression and, of course, I will respect this choice". Over the past two years, the FFR has taken a turning point in its democratisation.

The France national side has never had a non-French head coach, but given the team's recent form French Rugby are desperately seeking ways to improve performances before the country hosts the Rugby World Cup in 2023.

"The XV de France belongs first and foremost to the amateur rugby clubs that train our future global players. To decide this, 59 per cent of the clubs do not want a coach of foreign nationality".

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"I have made a decision to finish coaching and will prioritise family commitments after the Rugby World Cup in 2019", Schmidt said in a statement issued by the IRFU.

Gatland, who will step down as Wales coach after the World Cup after 12 years in charge and three Six Nations grand slams, was considered a strong contender if France did not open its doors to a foreign coach.

He also recently promised he would appoint Brunel's successor before the World Cup in Japan kicked off. "He speaks French like you and me and he coached at Clermont", he told RMC Sport.

The result is a further setback on the FFR after an industrial tribunal ordered the board to pay €1 million in compensation for the sacking of coach Guy Noves, who guided France to seven wins from 22 games before he was eventually replaced by Jacques Brunel.

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