- Title: FRANCE: PIERRE BERBIZIER EXPLAINS HIS RESIGNATION AS FRENCH RUGBY UNION COACH
- Date: 19th September 1995
- Summary: PARIS, FRANCE (SEPTEMBER 19, 1995) 1. PIERRE BERBIZIER AT PRESS CONFERENCE 2. JOURNALISTS TAKING NOTES 3. PHOTOGRAPHERS 4. BERBIZIER SPEAKING ABOUT THE FUTURE, POLEMICS AND THE WORLD CUP (FRENCH) 5. CAMERAMAN 6. PRESS PHOTOGRAPHERS 7. BERBIZIER SAYING THERE IS NO PROJECT, NO PROGRAMME AND ONLY VAGUE PLANS (FRENCH) 8. GENERAL VIEW OF PRESS CONFERENCE IN PROGRESS Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 4th October 1995 13:00
- Location: PARIS, FRANCE
- Country: France
- Reuters ID: LVA9AOEEG8UJQSHAACFPVBJ7QQDL
- Story Text: Pierre Berbizier explained on Tuesday (September 19) why he resigned from the position of coach for the French rugby union team.
Berbizier, who led France to third place in last summer's World Cup, said he had resigned because he disagreed with FFR president Bernard Lapasset's policies.
He said : "I remain as passionate as ever but my faith in the game has been undermined by recent decisions. I have decided to give up the French team's direction but I will keep an eye on national and international rugby," Berbizier said. Berbizier also criticsed the "incoherent" and "soft focus" direction of the Federation which he said was not compatible with the rugby of the future.
He has been replaced by former international flanker Jean-Claude Skrela . Skrela alongside Jean-Pierre Rives and Jean-Pierre Bastiat was a member of the golden third row who gave France their first Grand Slam in the Five Nations championship in 1977.
After he retired with 46 caps, he coached France's top club, Toulouse, before taking over Colomiers, his home town's side.
Skrela's job will be monitored by Andre Herrero, who was named France's manager, replacing Guy Laporte, who has resigned.
Herrero has been one of the harshest opponents of professionalism in France since the International Rugby Football Board (IRFB) announced last month it was allowing unions to drop their amateur status.
He said recently he was not keen on working with Berbizier, criticising him for an excessive number of training sessions scheduled for the national squad.
"I remain as passionate as ever but my faith in the game has been undermined by recent decisions. I have decided to give up the French team's direction but I will keep an eye on national and international rugby," Berbizier said.
Skrela, 46, will be under intense pressure especially as France will host the touring All Blacks in November.
In four years, Berbizier led France to 25 victories, one draw and 12 defeats, one Five Nations championship victory in 1993 and third place in the World Cup in South Africa.
His departure reflects a growing split in French rugby over issues such as professionalism.
Lapasset last week said French rugby union was not ready to become professional.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None