New French Coaching Team “Slapped Together” Says Bernard Jackman

“His best years are probably behind him.”

Bernard Jackman believes the new France coaching ticket was merely “slapped together”, and that the make-up shows the national side is now secondary to the wealthy Top 14 clubs.

Guy Noves became the first France coach to be sacked in the professional era last week, with former Italy boss Jacques Brunel replacing him. He will be assisted by former players Julien Bonnaire (line-out coach), Sebastien Bruno (scrum) and Jean-Baptiste Elissalde (backs).

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Jackman believes Brunel and his new team were far from first-choice.

“It’s a massive disappointment for French rugby,” Jackman told RTÉ 2fm’s Game On.

“(French Rugby Federation president) Bernard Laporte took the hard decision of sacking the coach for the first time ever in French history.

“He went to somebody he trusts very well in Jacques Brunel, who hasn’t really been inspiring since he won a Top 14 with Perpignan back in the day (2009) but he’s always been close to Laporte. His best years are probably behind him.

“They tried to get (Patrice) Collazzo out of La Rochelle, which would have been a really good appointment, and a couple of other coaches, (Fabien) Galthie out of Toulon for example.

“The power of the French clubs, both presidents wouldn’t release their coach. The French federation doesn’t have the money to buy them out of their contracts.

“So they ended up going to Bonnaire, who’s been working with the under 20s and hasn’t really convinced, Bruno, who has been scrum coach for Lyon, who have done okay in fairness, and Elissalde, who was out of work after being let go by Toulouse.

“The skills coach worked with me in Grenoble and the defence coach who’s a coach instructor, he’s not really a coach.

“It’s a pretty slapped together management team, who don’t really have the experience of international rugby. I think it’s another error by the French rugby union.”

Jackman reckons under the new coaching ticket, France will be no threat to Ireland in the Six Nations next month.

“If they had brought in a Vern Cotter or Galthie, that would have been a bit of a worry.

“But it hasn’t inspired confidence. All those players going into the national squad will know that the environment is equipped with less experienced coaches than the one that’s been sacked. That’s not a good thing.

“I don’t see how those coaches can give the players the framework and the game plan to beat a team like Ireland who are so far advanced in their system. I’m not worried.”