Players are 'spoilt brats' - Lievremont
Rugby: Marc Lievremont has branded a section of his France squad as “spoilt brats” after he discovered some players went out to celebrate their World Cup semi-final win against Wales. France battled to a 9-8 victory against 14-man Wales to reach their first final since 1999, when Lievemont was Les Bleus’ starting openside flanker.
Lievremont, who has had a fractious relationship with the players during his four-year tenure, called a meeting today and told the guilty players they had let the team down.
“I went to bed in a bad mood because I’d asked the players not to go out, and I found out a few of them had gone out,” Lievremont said. “I told them what I thought of them — that they’re a bunch of undisciplined spoilt brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining. It’s been like this for four years.
“The problem is we are not world champions yet and we just qualified for the final. This reminds me of 1999 when there were four days of celebration for the semi-final.”
France were in an apparent state of disarray after losing their final pool match to Tonga but they united to beat England in the quarter-finals.
Wales were the better side for the vast majority of yesterday’s semi-final, even after they had captain Sam Warburton sent off, but France hung on to steal the narrow victory.
“The Tonga match is the one that stands out (as a turning point) for the words said after it and for the weeks that followed,” said Lievremont. “The Welsh played a great, pragmatic game and it was great to watch our defence.
“We had great communication and we had a lot of encouragement between the players and there were no penalties in the last 20 minutes, apart from one that I thought was not justified.
“We used everything in our French armoury in order to win this match.”
Lievremont insisted Warburton deserved to be sent off for the dangerous tip tackle on wing Vincent Clerc, which today earned him a three-week ban.
“I thought the sending-off was totally justified and it is not my fault if other people do not agree,” said Lievremont.
France’s defence coach Dave Ellis, who has a rugby league background, felt Warburton’s challenge would have been acceptable in the 13-man code — but not in rugby union.
“I thought it was a great rugby league tackle, but we are not playing rugby league and the rules are you can’t do that,” said Ellis. “It is very difficult to play a team with 14 players on the field. We talked about it at half-time and the Welsh have a great character to them and I thought they came out fantastically in the second half.
“They were close to winning the game — but towards the end we were very disciplined and the last sequence of events had more than 20 phases in it and we prevented them from making any progress and we won the game.”