Rugby Union: France name Laporte as Skrela's successor

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The Independent Online
BERNARD LAPORTE, the manager of the 1998 French champions Stade Francais, was named as France's national coach yesterday.

The decision by the French rugby federation, came as no surprise after strong speculation that he would succeed Jean-Claude Skrela, who steered France to the World Cup final two weeks ago. Skrela resigned last Monday after four years in charge.

The 35-year-old Laporte, who as a scrum-half helped Begles-Bordeaux win the French championship in 1991, was at the helm of Stade Francais' meteoric rise from the lower echelons of the game.

Under his guidance, Stade Francais, espousing a modern game and recruiting a number of leading professional players, worked their way up to the top by winning the four national divisions in successive seasons, culminating in the championship in 1998.

They contributed four players to France's World Cup squad and are captained by Italy's fly-half Diego Dominguez.