Laporte to quit coaching career

Tue, 30 Apr 2013 16:56
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Top 14 leaders Toulon's coach Bernard Laporte on Tuesday said he would bring the curtain down on his coaching career in 2015.

Top 14 leaders Toulon's coach Bernard Laporte on Tuesday said he would bring the curtain down on his coaching career in 2015.

The 48-year-old former France coach - who guided the national side to the 2003 and 2007 World Cup semifinals, including a memorable win over the All Blacks in the quarterfinals of the latter edition - said by the time his present contract finished in two years’ time, he will have achieved his goal at the big-spending club.

"I extended my original contract for two years because certain pivotal players had linked the extension of their contracts to my decision," said Laporte, who was brought to the club by owner and comic book magnate Mourad Boudjellal in 2011.

"In four years’ time we should have achieved the goal of having the team at the top of the tree.

"After that I won't be interested in coaching another club and I will stop in 2015."

Laporte, who served as secretary of state for sport for two years under then French President Nicolas Sarkozy from 2007 to 2009, said after he stepped down as coach he might well stay on at the club but not in a full-time role.

Laporte made his name as a coach in charge of Stade Francais, guiding them in three years from the third tier to being crowned national champions in 1998, backed by the heavy-spending of former radio mogul Max Guazzini.

And he said that Toulon has providing him with an ideal swansong.

"The most beautiful experience of my career was coaching the French side for seven years," he said.

"Then I was secretary of state for Sport for two years and after that I managed my own business interests.

"In between times I have turned down the offer of coaching two English and two French clubs.

"There is only one project that interests me, that of Toulon. I am really enjoying myself with them, I adore the people who work in the club, with a president who is always looking to make the club bigger.

"He and I have followed the same path, we had nothing to start with and have had to fight all the way to become what we are now."

Laporte, who guided Toulon to the finals of both the European Challenge and the Top 14 last season, could finish the season with both the Top 14 title and the European Cup trophy.

Toulon are guaranteed a first round bye in the Top 14 play-offs and face title rivals Clermont in the European Cup Final in Dublin on May 18

AFP

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