Rodriguez lashes out at Blanco

Date published: April 17 2014

Dismissed Biarritz head coach Laurent Rodriguez has hit out at President Serge Blanco over his handling of the situation.

Dismissed Biarritz head coach Laurent Rodriguez has hit out at President Serge Blanco over his handling of the situation.

Rodriguez – a former team-mate of Blanco in the great France team of the late 1980s – said he was deeply saddened to learn of his ousting via the media after the President's announcement to club partners. The hurt runs all the more deep since the two are long-time friends.

The club's relegation from the Top 14 was confirmed last month – Rodriguez's side have mustered just four victories from 24 games, and host Brive on Saturday in the coach's final game in charge.

The Biarritz veteran and former forwards coach has lashed out at Blanco, claiming that he learned of player arrivals via the press long before his dismissal.

“After so many years at the club, it's over – we're good for nothing,” raged Rodriguez in an interview with French website, RugbyRama.

“When you're not the boss and you do not decide, you have to put up with the situation. I already heard of new players coming in through the press without being aware of anything. That made me uncomfortable, because everyone thought I knew everything when I was not aware of anything.

“I realised I was going to be fired the day after the famous announcement to all partners.”

“It's more sadness than anything else,” added Rodriguez.

“I don't blame Serge. After all, he has the right to say,'Laurent Rodriguez is finished as Head Coach' – I do not deny that. He certainly had his reasons.

“As for how it was done, I think it was ugly. When you learn things from the newspapers, it is not very nice. We've known each other long enough to say things face-to-face. I thought he was one of the few friends he had who could talk to him straight.

“These days it looks like my telephone number has disappeared.”

The former number eight said he had taken the helm at Parc des Sports Aguiléra as a favour to Blanco after a decade with the club, and still feels he has a lot to offer as a coach, though perhaps setting his sights lower than the Top 14.

“I would have liked to have stayed, obviously,” asserted Rodriguez.

“Remember, I did this for friendship. And now after ten years spent at the club, you see that I'm not treated well. Yes in rugby, I think I can bring a lot – I still have the passion. I would like to stay in the game, even with young people as I had done with the Dax youth teams.

“I have a lot of fond memories from my time here. The big plus point was starting from scratch (1997)… and gradually brought in players to win the French championship. The years that followed were extraordinary.

“As forwards coach, I had extraordinary players, who grumbled when I made ​​them do certain things but always pitched up. Recently, I had a good time with a generation that likes to train – contrary to what one might think – who were open to learn new things.

“I think my successor will have a lot of fun training the players that remain. They are great guys.”