Harinordoquy hits out at Lievremont
October 4, 2011
Imanol Harinordoquy was less than impressed with the public nature of his coach's criticism of France's players © Getty Images
France back-row Imanol Harinordoquy has admitted that he was "not happy" with coach Marc Lievremont's decision to publicly slate his players after last weekend's shock loss to Tonga.
Les Bleus performed woefully in Wellington as they slumped to arguably the most embarrassing defeat in their history and, in truth, the final scoreline of 19-14 flattered them enormously> Lievremont slated his players after the game, only adding to speculation of the emergence of a rift between the coach and his squad.
Harinordoquy, speaking on Tuesday, denied talk of a mutiny in the French camp but he did confess to having been left disappointed by the public nature of Lievremont's criticism.
"I am not happy because all the media know what he said," the Biarritz forward said. "I think there are things that have to stay in the room when you speak between the coach and players. He can say that to us, that is not a problem, but I prefer that those kind of things stay in the room."
Despite having progressed to the quarter-finals with just two wins to their name, against relative minnows Japan and Canada, Harinordoquy still believes that France have the quality to defeat England in their quarter-final clash in Auckland on Saturday. It is, he feels, merely a question of attitude.
"We have to change our mentality for this match," he said. "To be more aggressive, to fight, to play like we know we can. The props, the locks and the back row have to think about the fight first, not think about the game.
"I don't know if they are a stronger side than us, but I do know it will be a tough match. I don't know if there will be a lot of passing in this match, but there will be a lot of fighting.
"We will have to have a big defence, good discipline and to score points when we have the chance.
"This is the most important match for us. It can be the match which makes the difference for everybody, for us, for our supporters, for France... I hope the competition will start for us on Saturday."
When Harinordoquy's well-documented dislike of the English was raised, he played dumb before joking: "Always a big fan of the England team."
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