Livid Lievremont lashes out
Published 13/03/2011 | 19:42
France coach Marc Lievremont is ready to wield the axe ahead of next Saturday's RBS 6 Nations clash against Wales in Paris.
Lievremont reacted to his team's shock 22-21 defeat in Rome - France's second against Italy in 32 Tests, but first since 1997 - by launching a blistering verbal attack on his players.
Lievremont said: "Maybe they were too much in the comfort zone. Do I feel responsible for that? No, they betrayed us, they have betrayed me and they have betrayed the French national team shirt."
He added: "What is for sure is that certain players have worn the French shirt for the last time.
"In terms of the tactics deployed, it defied belief. I did not recognise anything in their performance that we had worked on.
"Do you really think that I told them to play as they did against Italy? I was ashamed. I do not have the impression we asked them to walk on the moon - I do not ask for complicated things.
"This match was an hallucination. I do not want to clear myself from the blame, but they invented things on the pitch."
The Italy loss came less than four months after France were crushed 59-16 at home by Australia, but it is thought Lievremont will remain in charge for this year's World Cup campaign.
"They (players) are lacking in courage," added Lievremont, on www.planetrugby.com.
"They are good guys, but cursed with what is obviously cowardice. They are not even capable of admitting to their own mistakes. Perhaps it is a trend among the new generation.