Top 14: Paul Gustard arrives at Stade Francais

Lawrence Nolan

Former England defence coach Paul Gustard has arrived in Paris to take control of the rearguard at Stade Francais ahead of next season.

The Parisians crashed 17-33 at home to Brive on the final day of the Top 14 on Sunday, leaving the fans restless at the end of a disappointing season.

Critical signing

But the capture of Gustard, revealed by Midi-Olympique a couple of weeks ago, was confirmed on Monday and will doubtless appease those fans, given his record elsewhere.

Gustard was in charge of Saracens’ fabled defence from 2008 to 2016, before taking the England defence under Eddie Jones for two years.

He subsequently left to coach Harlequins, where he enjoyed moderate success but found himself caught between his own belligerent approach and the Harlequins’ developing culture of playing more expansive and caution-free rugby.

Since January 2021 he has been in charge of Italian side Benetton, but will be alongside Gonzalo Quesada, Julien Arias and Laurent Sempéré on Stade Francais’ bench next season.

Also alongside that trio will also be promising young Australian coach James Kent, who has been an analyst for both the France U20 and full national team as well as working at the Stade academy.

Combine with the arrival of Morgan Parra to add experience, Stade are already well into the process of rebuilding from this season’s disappointing campaign and are expected to announce several more recruits this week.

“We are on several paths,” Gonzalo Quesada said Sunday night at a press conference after the heavy defeat to Brive. We will have to decide now because in five weeks we will be on the training ground again.”

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