Jacques Brunel expected to replace Guy Novès as France coach - reports

Jacques Brunel is expected to replace Guy Novès as head coach of France. NICOLAS TUCAT/AFP/Getty Images

Jacques Brunel is expected to replace Guy Novès as head coach of France as early as next week, according to reports in the French press.

FFR President Bernard Laporte said a formal announcement will be made on Wednesday, December 27, but it is widely believed patience has run out with Novès, who has endured a torrid run as coach of the national side, winning just seven matches in his 22-game tenure since taking over from Philippe Saint-Andre after the 2015 World Cup.

His lieutenants Yannick Bru and Jean-Frédéric Dubois are also expected to leave their posts at Marcoussis as part of a cull of the current set-up, following FFR vice president Serge Simon's root-and-branch investigation into the state of French rugby following the disappointing November internationals.

Reports in France also suggest that Brunel -- with the support of Laporte and LNR president Paul Goze -- could assemble a short-term, part-time coaching team comprising Toulon's Fabien Galthie, Clermont's Franck Azema, and La Rochelle's Patrice Collazo and Xavier Garbajosa to lead the beleaguered national side through the 2018 Six Nations.

It is then expected that he will identify his longer-term coaching team for the remainder of his tenure. Any deal is likely to be a short-term one, with Brunel expected to hand over the reins to a longer-term choice after the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Former Italy boss Brunel, who is currently in charge at Bordeaux and is a month older than the man he is tipped to replace, has reportedly told his players that he will accept the France job if it is offered to him.

He will be 64 when France kick off their Six Nations campaign against Ireland at Stade de France on February 3.

Novès, who took charge of Les Bleus after a trophy-filled 22 years in charge of Toulouse began his tenure with two wins in the 2016 Six Nations, but followed that a year later by guiding his side to their highest tournament finish since 2011.

Les Bleus have not won a match since March, following-up a three-match series whitewash in South Africa in June with three defeats and a draw in the November internationals.

As well as his international experience as head coach of Italy, Brunel was Laporte's assistant in the France set-up between 2001 and 2007. He has also worked with Azema -- the duo won the Top 14 title with Perpignan in 2009.