Tyrone Howe: Guillotine hangs precariously over head of bonkers Lievremont
The older you get the less things tend to surprise you, but when it comes to the French, they pretty much redefine the boundaries of what is normal.
In the aftermath of Italy’s historic victory over last year’s Six Nations champions, the bonkers side expressed itself once again, above all through the extreme comments of Marc Lievremont.
In accusing the French players of ‘betrayal’ and ‘being cowards’, Lievremont not only did the Italian players an enormous disservice by not crediting them for their performance and achievement, he has surely shortened his lifespan as French national coach. His tenure has swung from the sublime to the ridiculous with a few excellent results but an unacceptable number of embarrassing defeats.
In fact, one wonders whether the results would have been any less consistent had the players simply prepared themselves instead of any third party involvement.
At times, the selection policy has bordered on the barking mad with Imanol Harinordoquy making way for Sebastian Chabal last week, and players, like Morgan Parra, openly challenging the policy and methods of communication.
The upshot is that the coach seems to have been in danger of losing his changing room. That risk has now been multiplied to a critical point.
It all seems so far removed from his predecessor, Bernard Laporte, whose main goal was to change the culture of French rugby — to rid the moody, temperamental mentality and instil a more professional attitude which achieved a greater consistency in performance. France have regressed since his time.
In all of this, it is more than likely that France will produce a performance of utmost quality against Wales, or maybe not — who knows?
While Lievremont stated that France’s performance was a hallucination, sadly it was all too real, as is the guillotine which is currently dangling precariously above the head of France’s eccentric grand fromage.