France change Test selection structure


James Mortimer     31 Dec 2012     getty

Yannick Bru and Patrice Lagisquet, along with Saint-Andre, will take charge of team selection after the traditional committee, in place for the most part for decades, was officially disbanded.

There were initially talks with Saint-Andre about long term structures and new processess that would become part of Les Bleus setup, to continue on their success of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, where despite two pool losses they lost by just the solitary point to the All Blacks in the final at Eden Park.

They continued this momentum during the November Test series, with the Tricolours going unbeaten, with a powerful win over the Wallabies the toast of the tour.

Even if rugby romantics were denied a dream clash against the All Blacks.

French rugby federation vice-president Jean Dunyach told AFP that the previous selection committee was not needed due to the implementation of long term vision.

"When we proposed the France team to Philippe Saint-Andre in 2011, we agreed in talks on a new organisation," Dunyach said.

"He wanted to be coach-selector and have with him two men on the ground who would make up his backroom staff."

Dunyach said it was wise to have the coaches wielding the selection power.

The All Blacks coaching team of Steve Hansen and Ian Foster work with former All Blacks first five-eighth Grant Fox, who is officially an independent selector.

"It's not only a political desire of (federation president) Pierre Camou and the (French Rugby) federation," Dunyach said.

"It is also a desire to change the functioning of the national team to entrust coaches with more responsibility.

"This means players will also see that the decision-makers are really the people who coach them and not other people who can influence coaches."

Saint-Andre will unveil a training squad of up to 33 players for the 2013 Six Nations on January 11.

The French team, the only unbeaten side along with the Springboks over November tests, will play Italy on February 3 to kick off their campaign.