Laporte queries Saint-Andre's double standards
July 7, 2014
Bernard Laporte has experienced huge success at Toulon © Getty Images
Toulon boss Bernard Laporte has queried Philippe Saint-Andre's criticism of the number of foreigners in the Top 14 and pointed to his time in charge of Toulon when he brought all manner of Galacticos to the club.
Saint-Andre has been critical of the number of foreigners in the Top 14 and subscribes to the view that is one reason why the French national side is currently under-performing. But Laporte is tired of excuses and argues mass change should have happened in the French national side in the aftermath of the 2011 World Cup.
"When Philippe Saint-André was at Toulon, he recruited a dozen strangers," Laporte told Midi Olympique. "And at that moment, he did not care for the France team! Now when he says that foreigners are why France are losing, I say stop. Where are we going?
"I've always said the France team must be the priority. Reading our current results makes me scream ... we have become the Spain of rugby! There is something that concerns me. In 2011, at the end of a disastrous World Cup, the English were in the same position as us, but they were able to ask the right questions. Suddenly, their national team is playing well. They are not the best nation in the world, but it is consistent progress when we have not advanced one meter."
For Laporte he argues France must look beyond the four-year World Cup cycle and instead focus on season-by-season consistent success. That is something he is aiming to do at Toulon and one of his immediate tasks will be to find someone to fill the sizeable boots of the now retired Jonny Wilkinson.
Frederic Michalak filled in at fly-half through last season and although they have recruited James O'Connor, who is equally adept at fullback and No.10, Laporte is unwilling to pick out a first-choice fly-half.
"There will be no number one. Frédéric Michalak will compete with Matt Giteau and James O'Connor, who could possibly help. Initially, there is no incumbent. The number one will be decided at the end during the big games."
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