BIARRITZ HAVE CONFIRMED that Benoît August and Pierre Chadebech will act as assistant coaches to Eddie O’Sullivan at the club next season.
The Irishman was appointed as the Basque club’s new head coach just over a week ago on a two-year deal. Biarritz were relegated from the Top 14 this season, but president Serge Blanco remains optimistic about a swift return to the top tier.
Aiding O’Sullivan in achieving that goal will be 37-year-old Biarritz legend August, who takes charge of the forwards. The once-capped French international was playing for the club as recently as the 2012/13 season, when he started nine games.
The former hooker was part of the Biarritz teams that won the French championship in 2005 and 2006, as well as helping them to the Amlin Challenge Cup in 2012. Furthermore, August played in the 2006 and 2010 Heineken Cup finals.
This will be August’s first professional coaching position, with the Mont-de-Marsan native having worked as a rugby pundit for television channel Canal+ for the past year.
Chadebech has been appointed in the role of backs coach, having been a centre for Brive during his own playing days. The 55-year-old was capped five times for Les Bleus and began coaching with Narbonne in 2006.
From there, Chadebech moved into assistant coaching with the France ‘A’ team, before taking over at Lille in 2009. The Ussel man has been hugely impressive ever since, with Lille narrowly missing out on promotion into the Pro D2 from the Fédérale 1 league this season.
Blanco was understood to be keen for O’Sullivan to work with an all-French coaching staff, providing him with knowledge of the workings of the system in L‘Hexagone. The presence of August – hugely respected by Biarritz players and fans – may be particularly useful.
That said, the appointment of O’Sullivan was a recognition on Blanco’s part that the commonly accepted manner of doing things – in training, squad culture and tactically – needed to be altered.
The former Ireland head coach has a demanding task on his hands at Stade Aguiléra, where the operating budget will take a sharp fall next season. The loss of important players like Raphaël Lakafia, Josh Furno, Aled Brew, Damian Traille and Yann Lesgourgues has been a further blow for Biarritz.
O’Sullivan has indicated that he may attempt to convince Dimitri Yachvili not to retire, which would be a massive boost. 34-year-old No. 8 Imanol Harinordoquy looks likely to stay with the club next season.
There has been some positive recruitment in recent weeks for Biarritz, with the following players set to work with O’Sullivan next season:
- Former Brumbies hooker Elvis Levi
- Scotland international centre Nick de Luca
- France-capped prop Franck Montanella
- Natal Sharks second row Edwin Hewitt
- France-capped hooker Benjamin Noirot
- Former Bath wing Jacques Boussuge
- France U20 interational fullback Kylan Hamdaoui
- Top 14-proven scrum-half Kevin Boulogne
- 123kg former France U20 international prop Stéphane Clément
- Ex-Toulon centre Clément Marienval