Before the all-important clash against England in the Quarterfinals of the Rugby World Cup, France coach Marc Lievremont expressed hope that the internal issues would motivate the squad against the English.
After one of their worst performances in recent times resulted in a 14-19 loss to Tonga last weekend, French coach Lievremont lambasted his player for a poor display. In response, back-row Imanol Harinordoquy hit out at his coach for taking the row public and there ensued wide-spread speculation on mutiny in the French camp.
On Tuesday, after naming his squad for the match-up, Lievremont admitted that there was a sense of frustration amongst the squad although denied it being anything more than that.
We did not win the right to be happy, Lievremont said. I do not think there are internal problems, just a frustration on my part but also the players. And also of shame after the match last Saturday. All this will, hopefully, generate a reaction.
His two changes to the squad involves a return for prop Nicolas Mas who has recovered from a hamstring injury, while loose forward Harinordoquy adds some experience into the starting team instead of Raphael Lakafia, who has been dropped from the squad.
Louis Picamoles takes Harinordoquy's place on the bench.
France's opponents for the quarterfinal, England, themselves have problems off the field and when asked whether his side would look to capitalize on any problems, Lievremont has definitely heard of the phrase 'people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.'
I have enough trouble with my group not to poke fun of them. We're under a bit of pressure - it's part of the tournament. It's not huge problems, just a bit of stress and a certain amount of unhappiness with the way the pool matches have been played.
We're putting that behind us and looking forward to the next match. I've still got a great deal of belief in my team, a huge amount of belief in their qualities of rugby players. That hasn't changed.
England and France will battle it out in the quarterfinals on Saturday 8 October, in Auckland.