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Noves can bring back French flair, says Flood

4:06 PM GMT

England’s Eddie Jones isn’t the only Six Nations coach with a major rebuilding programme ahead of him this spring. Across the Channel, veteran tactician Guy Noves has an equally-daunting task with fellow World Cup flops France.

The 61-year-old takes over a squad not long ago humiliated 62-13 by the All Blacks in the World Cup quarterfinals. It was a defeat that hammered a final nail into the departing Philippe Saint-Andre’s tenure, but also one that highlighted in rude fashion the death of the French focus on attacking rugby.

Under Noves, there is hope Les Bleus can rediscover that joie de vivre and, according to one man who knows the former Toulouse coach well, if flair is what France want, then flair is what France will get.

“As a bloke, [Noves] is very astute,” says former England fly-half Toby Flood, who moved to Noves’ Toulouse from Leicester in 2014. “He’s talked in the past about wanting to bring some of the attacking flair back to French rugby. That’s something the French have always been renowned for and it’s something he always did with his Toulouse teams before. It’s a real passion for him, to reproduce that style of rugby.”

It’s a style that has served Noves well in a coaching career that has seen him guide Toulouse to four European titles — and two runners-up spots — since taking the helm in 1993. Such sustained success, coupled with a more hands-off approach on the training field, empowers his players to take responsibility for their game. But, warns Flood, there is certainly no hiding in a Guy Noves side.

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