PARIS – Sacked France coach Guy Noves has been summoned to answer a charge of serious misconduct by the French rugby federation, sources confirmed on Thursday following a report in sports daily L'Equipe.
Noves and his two assistants have received a registered letter requesting their appearance at a meeting “prior to dismissal for serious misconduct” less than 24 hours after he became the first France coach in history to be axed.
Former Bordeaux-Begles coach Jacques Brunel was named as successor to Noves, 63, who paid the price for two dismal years in charge of Les Bleus.
Under his watch France won a meagre seven from 22 matches (21 Tests), alongside 14 defeats and a humiliating home draw with 2019 World Cup hosts Japan.
If the serious misconduct charge is proven the federation will escape having to pay Noves and his two assistants Yannick Bru and Jean-Frédéric Dubois compensation reported by local media to be between 1.5 and 3 million euros (1.8 and 3.6 million dollars).
The French Football Federation sacked then coach Raymond Domenech for serious misconduct in 2010 in the wake of that year's calamitous World Cup campaign in South Africa.
French federation president Bernard Laporte told a press conference on Wednesday that “he had nothing against Guy” Noves, who was appointed by his predecessor, Pierre Camou.
“He has had eye-catching success (in the French top 14). He didn't become a bad manager from one day to the next.
“I have respect for what he achieved. If I'd been against him the first thing I'd have done (when becoming French rugby boss in December 2016) would have been to get rid of him.”
Brunel joins the national set-up just five weeks before France face Ireland in their Six Nations opener.
The ex-Italy boss told AFP after his appointment: “Our aim is to win the Six Nations.
“Perhaps in the past, we were too focused on winning the World Cup and not enough on the present moment and that is the Six Nations. Every year, France must be competitive for the final victory.”
Brunel cautioned against making the same errors which jinxed Noves who called up 74 players during his time at the helm.
“There are still two years before the World Cup. For the Six Nations, we must take the best players, the fittest players. In any team, you need a mix of young and more experienced players.
“There are quality young players -- but you have to find that balance.”