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There are eight candidates to replace Saint-André as France coach

Toulouse legend Guy Novès is currently the favourite within French media circles.

THE FÉDÉRATION FRANÇAISE de Rugby [FFR] has announced that it will interview eight candidates to replace Philippe Saint-André as France’s head coach after the World Cup.

France head coach Philippe Saint Andre Saint-André's contract expires after the World Cup. Source: Inpho/Billy Stickland

Saint-André has had a frustratingly inconsistent spell in charge of the national team since taking over from Marc Lièvremont following the 2011 World Cup, with les Bleus failing to finish higher than fourth in the Six Nations during his tenure.

Last month, the FFR publicly called for applications to succeed Saint-André at the conclusion of his contract, and France’s rugby governing body say they received a total of 66 expressions of interest.

They have whittled that number down to eight and will meet with that octet in May, when the candidates will be asked to further explain the details of their intended project as France head coach.

The FFR say that in order to “respect the confidentiality desired by certain candidates” they will not be revealing who the eight are.

Raphaël Ibañez was the strong early favourite to take over from Saint-André on account of his work as head coach of Bordeaux in recent seasons, but Toulouse legend Guy Novès has since emerged as the most touted candidate.

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Guy Noves Novès has replaced Ibanez as the favourite. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

61-year-old Novès has been with Toulouse as a player and coach since 1975, leading them to 10 French league titles and four Heineken Cups during his reign as head coach.

Other names being put forward in French media circles include former international scrum-half Fabien Galthié and popular ex-second row Fabien Pelous.

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Murray Kinsella

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