Guy Noves has already become caught up in controversy.
When Guy Noves was appointed France coach after the World Cup, a new era for French rugby was also set to be ushered in. French fans became hopeful that that dull rugby and controversial selections that defined the reign of Philippe Saint Andre would become a thing of the past.
Supporters of Les Bleus were given such hope when the former Toulouse boss unveiled his first squad last week. Gone were the likes of Rory Kockott, Sébastien Tillous-Borde and winger Noa Nakaitaci.
However Noves’ decision to drop two Toulon players, Mathieu Bastareaud and Maxime Mermoz, has led to suggestions that the new coach has an agenda against the club.
As a result, Noves was forced to defend his decision to drop the two Toulon players, telling L’Equipe,
I heard that maybe there were problems in relationship [with Toulon]. There is no problem with any of Toulon’s players! Even the Toulon Captain will lead France.
However Noves’ old rival and current Toulon boss, Bernard Laporte, has weighed in on the debate, arguing that the French squad is unbalanced. Laporte was also critical of the decision to drop Bastareaud, telling BFM TV that the centre,
Forces attackers to play around him… There maybe more technical players, but they will not win you an easy 20 meters… I can tell you that you’re always glad to have in your team.
The Toulon coach also questioned the ‘law of silence advocated by Noves’ in Le Figaro. Laporte demanded that the French players talk to the media, suggesting that Noves had instituted a code of silence.
If there are instructions, it is stupid… The French team must speak. As should the big players in major clubs. They must speak. We admire them so much we want to know. If they no longer communicate, it would be the end of the world.
It would appear that Noves’ honeymoon period as coach of the national team has come to quick end, with the new era already dogged by controversy and pre-existing club v country issues.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena