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Lievremont slams 'spoilt brats' after celebrations

Marc Lievremont blasted a section of his France squad as "spoilt brats" after he discovered some players went out to celebrate their World Cup semi-final win against Wales.

France battled to a 9-8 victory against 14-man Wales to reach their first final since 1999, the year when Lievemont was Les Bleus' starting openside flanker.

Lievremont, who has had a fractious relationship with the players during his four-year tenure, called a meeting today and told the guilty players they had let the team down.

"I went to bed in a bad mood because I'd asked the players not to go out, and I found out a few of them had," Lievremont said.

"I told them what I thought of them -- that they're a bunch of undisciplined spoilt brats, disobedient, sometimes selfish, always complaining, always whining. It's been like this for four years.

"The problem is we are not world champions yet and we just qualified for the final. This reminds me of 1999 when there were four days of celebration for the semi-final."

France were in an apparent state of disarray after losing their final pool match to Tonga but they united to beat England in the quarter-finals.

Wales were the better side for most of Saturday's semi-final, even after they had captain Sam Warburton sent off early on, but France hung on to claim the narrow victory.

"The Tonga match is the one that stands out (as a turning point)," said Lievremont.

"The Welsh played a great, pragmatic game and it was great to watch our defence. We had great communication and we had a lot of encouragement between the players and there were no penalties in the last 20 minutes, apart from one I thought was not justified.

"We used everything in our French armoury to win this match."

Lievremont insisted Warburton deserved to be sent off for the dangerous tip tackle on wing Vincent Clerc, which today earned the Welsh skipper a three-week ban.

"I thought the sending-off was totally justified and it is not my fault if other people do not agree," said Lievremont.



Warburton 'to easily recover'

Wales captain Sam Warburton has been backed to make a quick recovery from having his World Cup ended by suspension.

Warburton has started serving a three-week ban following his sending off by Irish referee Alain Rolland for a dangerous tackle on France wing Vincent Clerc during Saturday's 9-8 semi-final defeat.

He will miss the bronze medal match against Australia on Friday and cannot return to action until November 7.

Prop Gethin Jenkins is favourite to lead Wales when the side face the Wallabies at Eden Park, with Dan Lydiate possibly being switched from blindside to openside as Warburton's replacement.

"What's gone is gone, there is not an awful lot we can do about it," Wales skills coach Neil Jenkins said, following Warburton's red card and subsequent disciplinary hearing.

"We have obviously got to respect the decisions they (the governing bodies) have made and move forward.

"It's in the past now, and we have got to look forward to Friday's game and try to put it to the back of our minds.

"We will move on and take the medicine that has been given to us. Alain (Rolland) is an experienced referee, he has made the call and you have got to respect that.

"He (Warburton) has been outstanding all tournament in terms of his play and his leadership. Sometimes, in disappointment you learn a lot about yourself. He is not a malicious player."



Joubert to officiate first final

South Africa's Craig Joubert will referee the Rugby World Cup final between New Zealand and France at Eden Park on Sunday, tournament officials confirmed today.

Joubert was in charge of the All Blacks' 20-6 victory over Australia in the semi-final yesterday. It will be his first final and he becomes the second South African, after Andre Watson, to take charge of the final match of the global tournament.

"It is an enormous honour to get the final and I would like to thank (IRB referee manager) Paddy (O'Brien) and the committee for giving me the opportunity," said Joubert said in a statement.

England's Wayne Barnes will referee Friday's bronze final between Australia and Wales.