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Page last updated at 16:48 GMT, Saturday, 28 February 2009

Goulding named new France coach

Bobbie Goulding
Goulding won 17 international caps and was hugely successful with St Helens

Former St Helens and Great Britain scrum-half Bobbie Goulding is the shock appointment to succeed John Monie as coach of the French national team.

Out of a job since being sacked by Rochdale last May, the 37-year-old was as surprised as anyone to get the job.

"It was surreal," he said. "I couldn't believe it. I was sat at home watching the TV and I thought, 'Is this one of my mates having a mess about?'.

"Even when the contract came through, it was still not hitting home."

Goulding's first game in charge is the summer Test against England in Paris on 13 June.

The French are also involved in the new-look Four Nations tournament along with England, Australia and world champions New Zealand at the end of the year.

All those people who doubted me, all those people who knocked me in the last couple of years, they've got egg on their faces now

Bobbie Goulding
Goulding had a hugely successful playing career at Saints, while his other clubs include Wigan, Leeds and Australian side Eastern Suburbs.

But his coaching experience is limited to two short spells at Rochdale.

"It'll be tough, but it's going to put me back on the ladder," said Goulding. "All those people who doubted me, all those people who knocked me in the last couple of years, they've got egg on their faces now.

"It's up to me to go out and prove them wrong and show what Bobbie Goulding can do.

"I don't disrespect people for having a view on me. Everybody's got a past. Maybe other people's pasts having not been brought up - I was in the spotlight.

"But everyone knows who Bobbie Goulding is and what he can bring to the table."

Goulding, who has signed a three-year contract, becomes the second Englishman to coach France - current Wakefield boss John Kear was briefly in charge of Les Tricolores in 1997.

Monie's contract was not renewed following France's disappointing display at last year's World Cup.

606: DEBATE

They collected the wooden spoon from the 10-team World Cup after winning just one game.

"What I'm getting back from some people is that some of the players didn't want to be at that World Cup," Goulding said.

"They thought they were on holiday. Either you want to play or you don't. If you don't, there's the door.

"I'll find that out in the first training session, I assure you. I'll be blunt, but I'll be the best person in the world to them, too."

Goulding won 17 Great Britain caps from 1990-97 and was England's scrum-half in the 1995 World Cup.

He led St Helens to the inaugural Super League crown in 1996 and helped mastermind their back-to-back Challenge Cup successes at Wembley in 1996 and 1997.

He will be based in France 15 days per month and will begin taking French lessons, both in France and at his son's school in England.

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see also
France on course for Tri-Nations
11 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
France 'need second SL franchise'
01 Nov 08 |  Rugby League
Goulding leaves Rochdale Hornets
18 Nov 05 |  Rugby League
Injury may end Goulding's career
12 Jul 05 |  Rugby League
Goulding eyes coaching role
31 Jan 03 |  Rugby League
Goulding leaves Centurions
28 Oct 02 |  Rugby League
Goulding puts career before health
09 Oct 02 |  Rugby League
Reds welcome back Goulding
10 Jun 02 |  Super League


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