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Harinordoquy: France reached final despite coach

Updated: October 31, 2011, 16:42


PARIS(AP) Imanol Harinordoquy said France reached the World Cup final despite coach Marc Lievremont's lack of "perspective and experience.''

The No. 8 made the remarks in an interview with French biweekly Midi Olympique published Monday, eight days after France was beaten 8-7 by New Zealand in the World Cup final.

Harinordoquy gave Lievremont no credit for France's surprising run.

"He lacked perspective and experience,'' Harinordoquy said. "He too often threw us under the bus. When a journey turns ugly, we're all in the same boat. There's no good guy, no bad guy.''

Harinordoquy criticized Lievremont's way of managing individuals and acknowledged a rift between the coach and players during the World Cup.

"He allowed himself to make public things about the life of the squad,'' Harinordoquy said. "His comments about the bus and the spoiled brats, I found them hard to swallow. Within the squad, nobody thought that was normal.''

After France was beaten by Tonga during the group stage of the tournament, the coach said he thought his players "had not gotten off the bus.''

"From that moment, I no longer paid attention to what Marc said,'' Harinordoquy said. "We decided to get our act together. That was our own journey. It had to be the nice story of 30 guys. We had to set ourselves free from him.''

Lievremont also blasted some players for defying a curfew after a scrappy semifinal win over Wales.

"They're a bunch of undisciplined, spoiled brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining, and they've been (frustrating me) for four years,'' Lievremont told a news conference.

Lievremont's management style was unconventional, and sometimes brutal, but proved effective at times.

His straight talking may have upset some players, but it also served as a catalyst to sting their pride.

Lievremont took over from Bernard Laporte after the 2007 World Cup and his tenure was inconsistent, with a Six Nations Championship Grand Slam in 2010, and humiliating losses to Italy in the Six Nations and to Tonga at the World Cup.

Lievremont will be replaced by former France winger Philippe Saint-Andre.

Despite his strained relationship with Lievremont, the 31-year-old Harinordoquy left the door open to continuing his international career under the new coach.

"There's no particular relationship between Marc Lievremont and I. We don't know each other. I won't miss him,'' he said. "If Philippe Saint-Andre calls me up, I'll come and run.''

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