France's Noves dismisses future talk after defeat to South Africa

Reuters
Under Noves, who led Toulouse to four European Cup titles and nine French championships, France has lost 13 of 20 games since its quarterfinal exit at the 2015 World Cup.
Reuters
Reuters

South Africa's Francois Louw (left) in action with France's Sebastien Vahaamahina during their rugby test at Stade de France, Saint-Denis, outside Paris, on November 18, 2017. The visiting Springboks won 18-17.

France coach Guy Noves said he would not answer questions about his future after his side suffered an 17-18 defeat against a troubled South Africa team in their second November test on Saturday.

French federation president Bernard Laporte, himself a former France coach, had set Noves, the former Toulouse boss and France's most successful club coach, a target for three wins in four matches in the November series.

France, however, has now lost three out of three following last week's 18-38 defeat against New Zealand and the reserve team's loss against the All Blacks' second string earlier this week.

France's final game is against Japan next Saturday.

When asked about his future, Noves said: "With all due respect, you're tiring me with this question.

"My future, I won't answer questions about it. I don't ask myself questions about my future...

"If my future depends on defeats, I can't control that. You should ask the questions to the people who own my future."

Under Noves, who led Toulouse to four European Cup titles and nine French championships, France has lost 13 of 20 games since its quarterfinal exit at the 2015 World Cup.

After a few promising performances, where they showed poise and inspiration, Les Bleus have fallen back.

"There is no creativity and no efficiency," said former France flanker Olivier Magne, the France U-20 coach.

Saturday's defeat was France's sixth consecutive loss to the Springboks, who were thrashed 3-38 by Ireland last weekend, and its fourth this year.

"I'm not surprised, I was expecting this," former France wing Christophe Dominici told sports daily L'Equipe.

"There are things that don't go well, something that clearly doesn't work, it's obvious.

"Decisions need to be made but I'm not the one who should be taking them, it's not my job."

Noves, however, refused to be pessimistic.

"We have to believe in ourselves and not always question everything," he said.

"Of course we've just lost three games in a row but we've played New Zealand twice and South Africa."

In other autumn internationals on Saturday, it was: England 30, Australia 6 (at Twickenham); Scotland 17, New Zealand 22 (Edinburgh); Ireland 23, Fiji 20 (Dublin); Wales 13, Georgia 6 (Cardiff); and Italy 15, Argentina 31 (Florence).

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