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Lievremont ends tenure with last dig

FRANCE coach Marc Lievremont signed off from his role yesterday by having one final jibe at the media after a tempestuous battle throughout the Rugby World Cup.

Lievremont's side lost the final to New Zealand 8-7 on Sunday, which ended the hosts' 24-year drought between World Cup victories but also prolonged the French side's agony. It was their third final and third loss.

The former France international, who is being replaced by Philippe Saint-Andre as national coach, sparred with his country's media throughout the tournament, particularly after a series of performances that prompted heavy criticism.

"My contract ends and I didn't want you guys to miss me very much," Lievremont said. "In the weeks and months ahead, it will be up to someone else to tell you about the French team."

France lost two matches in the pool phase, to New Zealand and Pacific islanders Tonga, and lurched into the final following a 9-8 win over 14-man Wales in the semi-final.

Lieveremont reportedly also battled with some of his players, labelling them "spoiled brats" after a group ignored his instructions not to go out and celebrate after their semi-final win.

"We made it to the final. We made the All Blacks tremble and that is where we are now," Lievremont added.

"I thought the performance of the French players was beautiful. They put in a great performance. They played great rugby."

Lievremont said after the final he only had two words to say to his team: "thank you".