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Last Updated: Friday, 12 December, 2003, 18:31 GMT
Laporte nets new France deal
Bernard Laporte
Laporte's France side lost in the World Cup semi-final to England
Bernard Laporte will stay on as France coach through to the 2007 World Cup.

French Rugby Federation president Bernard Lapasset confirmed Laporte will remain in charge until the tournament, to be staged in France.

Despite the disappointment of a 24-7 defeat by England in the World Cup semi-finals, Laporte retained the backing of Lapasset and his players.

"After talking to my friends, I have found the desire to return to work," Laporte told a French radio station.

The former Stade Francais coach was originally appointed in 1999 and led Les Bleus to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2002.

His overall record reads 28 wins, one draw and 19 defeats in 48 internationals.

"After the World Cup I started to think and in the past two or three weeks I was wondering whether or not to continue, and start a new project," Laporte added.

"But I am glad to have accepted the offer. The DTN (national coaching body) were clear - they want the French team to win in 2007 and they will help me reach that aim."

After being given another four years to make France into world champions, Laporte will face pressure to take a different approach.

He blamed France's clubs for failing to invest in youth academies after the defeat by England in Sydney.

But French legend Serge Blanco insisted Laporte was to blame for not working with the National Coaching Programme headed by former assistant coach Pierre Villepreux.

Blanco, now French League president, wants a selection committee to be re-established and called on Laporte to meet club coaches twice a year to foster better co-operation.




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