French prop Jefferson Poirot yesterday confirmed players had been taking more control behind the scenes and that the 44-8 defeat against England in the Six Nations had been the catalyst for the formation of a player council.
It is understood the majority of the squad felt there had been a leadership vacuum after the coaching staff tried, and failed, to strip Guilhem Guirado of the captaincy before the Six Nations, but now Poirot and Louis Picamoles are making themselves heard.
France have used three captains in their three World Cup matches: Guirado, Poirot and Picamoles. Poirot believes the players taking on more power has been a positive.
"When I was offered the captaincy, it was more to relieve Guilhem as a player and pick up the baton. But we came together as players and found an organisation with a player council, which is what happens now," he said.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"There are more messengers and the message gets across.
"I think it's better for him; there was a time when he was a bit alone, speaking and training. That's draining," Poirot said in Kumamoto.
"We want to have more people to support the captain. There are three of us at the moment, but there could be more. We have lots of exchanges between the experienced players, and the younger ones, too. You have people like Romain Ntamack who is integrated in that. We know he's a leader of tomorrow."
Poirot also spoke of the embarrassment felt after the defeat at Twicken-ham.
"It was a traumatic experience," he said. "I talked about it as the biggest rugby shame of my life. We were completely outclassed; there was nothing to say. We remain scarred. It has been hard. This is where the problems started. After a defeat like that, we do not talk about the positives. This match must be put aside: it's a thing of the past."
- Telegraph Group Ltd