(Reuters) - France players must “kick the coaches out” and take full control of the team if they are to have any chance of winning the Rugby World Cup, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has said.
Boudjellal’s call to take action comes amid French media reports that captain Guilhem Guirado has fallen out with coach Jacques Brunel ahead of Saturday’s clash with Pool C leaders England.
“You’re there for your career and for your country. You’re there for French rugby and to try to go as far as possible, to see if you can win this World Cup - but we will only get there if you take control,” Boudjellal told the French media.
“Japan is a magnificent country to visit. Our coaches who are there, I invite you to ... treat yourself and leave the players to tell their own stories because for years I’ve not understood the game plan of this France team,” he said.
“Something is going wrong, so it’s over to you guys (the players) ... there are guys in this group who will be major coaches in the future ... kick the coaches out, take control, because we are ready to follow you.”
France will hope to avoid an open rebellion similar to the one against coach Marc Lievremont that marked their campaign in 2011. However, that team went on to reach the final, where they lost by a point to New Zealand.
Brunel’s side have beaten Argentina, the United States and Tonga so far and Saturday’s game against unbeaten England will determine who tops the pool heading into the quarter-finals.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Paul Tait