Keith Wood on why Guy Noves' sacking isn't good news for Ireland
Joe Schmidt's side face France in their opening 6 Nations match in Paris14:24 Friday 29 December 2017, 14:24 29 Dec 2017
Keith Wood thinks the change of coach at France could make Ireland's 6 Nations clash in Paris that little bit harder.
The former Lion joined Off the Ball for Wednesday Night Rugby, and speaking to Dave McIntyre, he said: "Jacques Brunel is a good, seasoned coach. He coached in Italy three or four years ago and he's a hard-nosed coach.
"I was disappointed for Guy Noves. He played and coached the most beautiful style in that cracking Toulouse team in the mid-1990s, and then on for another ten years or whatever it was.
Toulouse head coach Guy Noves in 2014. Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan
"I felt his time would have been in 2005-06 to get this job, and he got it much later on in his career, it hasn't worked for him. He is a guy who expresses himself with fluid rugby, yet French rugby is anything but fluid at the moment, with the exception of La Rochelle.
"It is about huge, big, hulking forwards - mostly from the southern hemisphere - who are bashing people down. Then another group of them come on with 20 or 30 minutes to go, and do the same and be pragmatic, kick your kicks and win.
"There's a huge, stark contrast with the way the club game is in France to the way we all had a thought and a view to the way French rugby should be. And Guy Noves was the man to bring that French rugby back. It hasn't worked, and it's been hard because nobody is playing that brand of rugby anymore," he added.
Looking at what the new coach will bring to France, the former Ireland captain said: "Well, I thought Brunel tidied up Italy. At the time, he brought in other players. In France, they have the players, so that's the difference.
"He can tidy up the game, make them very difficult to beat, put in a decent defensive structure and they will have 23 players in a squad that could beat anyone.
"It's whether you can give them a game-plan that lets them express themselves a little bit and gets the crowd onside. When that happens, France can be really, really difficult."
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