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France axe boss Noves and bring in Brunel, weeks before Irish duel

By Robert Jones

Guy Noves has been sacked as France coach and replaced by Jacques Brunel, the French Rugby Federation have announced.

Noves endured a torrid two-year spell in charge, managing just seven wins from 21 matches.

That led FFR president Bernard Laporte to act, with Noves becoming the first Les Bleus boss in history to be axed.

Former Italy coach Brunel has been named as his successor, leaving his role with Top 14 side Bordeaux-Begles to sign a deal until the 2019 World Cup.

The decision comes just five weeks before France face Ireland in their Six Nations opener.

Meanwhile, Bath have been fined £60,000 for allowing Taulupe Faletau to feature in Wales' November international clash with the Springboks.

Wales' fourth Test last month fell outside World Rugby's official release window, but Bath released Faletau for the 24-22 victory in Cardiff on December 2.

Bath admitted breaching Premiership Rugby regulations, and an initial £90,000 fine was reduced by £30,000.

Premiership Rugby staunchly defended their policy of enforcing sanctions for clubs flouting rulings.

Belfast Telegraph

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