Tuesday, November 16, 1999 Published at 18:52 GMT
Sport: Rugby Union
Skrela steps down as French coach
France lit up the World Cup by defeating the All Blacks
Jean-Claude Skrela has resigned as coach of France, the French Rugby Federation (FFR) announced on Tuesday.
A statement by the former international flanker said he had "decided not seek renewal of the contract that made him the trainer of the France XV four years ago".
Skrela - coach since he took over from Pierre Berbizier in 1995 - reportedly told the FFR of his decision to stand down at the beginning of the World Cup.
A formal announcement of the decision is expected at the end of the week.
Despite France's historic 43-31 victory over the All Blacks in their World Cup semi-final at Twickenham, Skrela was heavily criticised for his team's lacklustre performance in the early part of the tournament.
The French went on to lose the 6 November final to 35-12 Australia - the largest margin of any of the four tournaments to date.
He played 46 times for France as a back row forward, culminating in a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1977. He went on to coach the national side to two successive Grand Slams in 1997 and 1998, before France slumped to the wooden spoon in 1999.
Bernard Laporte, who coached Stade Francais to the 1998 national championship, is favourite to take over at the helm.
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