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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 11:42 GMT
Laporte future in the balance
France coach Bernard Laporte
Laporte will decide his future with his family
Bernard Laporte has refused to confirm whether he will stay on as coach of the French national side after they were knocked out of the World Cup.

France lost their semi-final 24-7 to England on Sunday and now face New Zealand in the third-place play-off on Thursday.

But concerning his future, Laporte said: "First, somebody has to ask me to stay on and nobody has done it so far.

"Then, if it comes, I shall have to think about it.

"I will ask myself if I still have the will, stamina and enthusiasm to carry on. I shall also talk to my children because they are now 13 and sometimes I feel I haven't seen them growing up."

France's ambitions of winning the World Cup may now be over, but Laporte insisted he still planned to take Thursday's play-off very seriously.

He added: "It is still a match between the French and the All Blacks."

His sentiments were echoed by team manager Jo Maso, who has refused to speculate on his future with the national side.

England are a more complete side, a more powerful side
France coach Bernard Laporte on the World Cup final

Maso said: "It is still better to finish on the medal podium rather than in fourth place.

"The players are professional after all and will go out there and fight for the result.

"In any case the All Blacks are still the reference point in the sport and it is like in football playing Brazil."

Laporte and Maso will be forced to watch Saturday's final on the sidelines, a match Laporte believes is too tough to call.

He said: "They are two fine teams. It's a real 50/50 game.

"The English will be the same as usual and they are a more complete side, a more powerful side.

"But they do not have runners behind the pack as good as the Wallabies have in Wendell Sailor, Lote Tuqiri, Stirling Mortlock and even Elton Flatley.

"If the Australians can get their share of possesion, they have a chance to win."





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