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France's Lievremont stands down with pride intact

Updated: October 23, 2011, 07:42

AUCKLAND, New Zealand(AP) Marc Lievremont's last match in charge of France ended with a narrow 8-7 defeat to New Zealand in a gripping World Cup final which ensured the beleaguered coach can leave international rugby with his pride intact.

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

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 6 Nations and to Tonga at this tournament.

His international playing career as a backrower for France ended with a loss to Australia in the 1999 Rugby World Cup final. A dozen years later he fell just short again.

"I feel immensely sad and immensely proud at the same time,'' Lievremont said. "People have always said and thought that the All Blacks were the greatest team of all time, but tonight I think it's the France team that was great, and even immense. It's tough to take, we needed a little bit more.''

Lievremont, who turns 43 on Friday, has yet to give any indication over his future plans.

"I have often spoken about emotional contrasts over the four years I've been in charge, and at this World Cup,'' he said. "This is the case once again tonight.''

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