JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Guy Noves will stay on as France coach despite the team’s 3-0 whitewash by South Africa, the French Rugby Federation said.
Saturday’s 35-12 loss at Ellis Park was the 11th defeat in 18 games for Noves in charge of the French side, who play world champions New Zealand on Nov. 11 in Paris.
“Guy Noves has my support but I cannot accept that we are now ranked as the eighth best rugby nation in the world,” French rugby president Bernard Laporte told Le Parisien on Sunday.
“Our objective must now be clear, to win three of our four tests in November,” he said.
France also host South Africa (Nov. 18) and Japan (Nov. 25 ), while a second clash in November with the All Blacks is being arranged but not yet made official.
Noves insisted there had been progress made on the three-week trip to South Africa, where France were also beaten in tests in Pretoria (37-14) and Durban (37-15).
“There was clear progress between the first two matches and in the third we were only seven down at half-time but then they scored a try that was too easy and it killed all our strategy,” the coach said after Saturday’s loss.
”You learn that this level that the slightest mistake is expensive. What is certain is that at halftime, we are still in the game. We are at the end of our season and there was a difference in the physical condition and freshness.
“We will leave with the suitcases full of points we need to work on, but it is obvious the players need a holiday. But we will look at the positive elements and I don’t think the gap is too big. I think that in November, with the work we did here in South Africa, that we will progress a little bit.”
Reporting By Nick Said; editing by Amlan Chakraborty