Pierre Camou, the French rugby chief, has given the Les Bleus' under-fire coaching set-up the dreaded vote of confidence following the team's 34-10 thrashing by England on Sunday. Head coach Marc Lievremont, as well as his assistants Didier Retiere and Emile Ntamack, have come in for as much criticism as their players after France's drubbing at Twickenham. But Camou, the newly-elected president of the French Rugby Federation (FFR), insists he will not do anything rash.
"If I have things to say, I will say it to them," he said. "But it will not be by shouting, by throwing things around, and certainly not in the press. "In every defeat, there are lessons to learn. What would be more annoying is if we don't take these lessons. "It is what everyone keeps asking - a resignation, what an idea! That is very French. "I don't want to add problems to problems. I am staying calm."
Camou, who took over as FFR president at the end of 2008, spoke to the staff and the players in the dressing room at Twickenham. He believes there was an over-reaction after Les Bleus' 21-16 victory against Wales in Paris a fortnight and a half ago, and felt the hangover lasted until the England match. "I'm not happy with the way the team went down - this defeat really hurt, of course," Camou added.
"But, deep down, I am not surprised. It is a bad tendency in French rugby. "We are world champions before having won a title. "I said after France-Wales that we had only won one rugby match and that wasn't against the best team in the world." France have drafted Toulouse duo Frederic Michalak and William Servat into their squad for Saturday's match against Italy in Rome. Michalak, who can play in either half-back position, comes in for injured scrum-half Sebastien Tillous-Borde while hooker Servat replaces Benjamin Kayser, ruled out with a neck injury.
The mercurial Michalak returns to a France squad for the first time since 2007. * With agencies