CCXV Correspondent Adam Stevenson reports that former French International Prop and CCXV coach, Col Le Fleur, has dramatically resigned as head coach of the Cauliflower Club XV, less than 20 days before the Cauliflowerians set off for their final charitable Old Boys match of the year to Forbes in Central West NSW on July 28th.
In angry scenes during the media conference at the Olympic Hotel, across the road from RUGBY AUSTRALIA headquarters at Moore Park, Le Fleur claimed he had been the victim of an "extraordinary character assassination" arising from persistent and vigorously disputed allegations that he had presided over havoc and injury during the team’s current training camp at The Rabbit Trap Hotel in Albert in far-western NSW.
Le Fleur announced his resignation just 40 minutes after the media announcement by Cauliflower Club Chairman John Fordham, that he had been sacked and replaced by Wallaby coaching legend, Rod Macqueen but claimed he had reached the decision to leave his post several hours earlier after his 6th House Chardy at the Strawberry Hills Hotel.
Having taken on the inaugural role for their first Charity match in Cooma just over a year ago he had come under intense pressure over the past 10 days, also becoming embroiled in a row over lurid and offensive text messages to former Wallaby Tourist and CCXV Legend, Geoff Didier.
Didier was unavailable for comment however Team Manager, Steve Adamson, was certain that the love/hate relationship between the two was now a Cold War, “We accept that it is completely unacceptable in this day and age for a member of the coaching staff to be sending that sort of thing to one of his charges…to be honest, nobody deserves to see images like that and despite his reputation, Geoff is quite a sensitive soul and we know he is quite upset by the unwarranted attention he has received from Le Fleur.”
“If the two of them are ever in the same room again, have your camera phones ready because it will go off!”
When questioned over the incident, Le Fleur could only mutter “C’est L’Amour.”
He leaves with a 0 per cent winning record from his 2 matches in charge, but Le Fleur was visibly upset at the scalding treatment he purports to have been receiving in the Australian media.
"Despite constant clarifications of ze circumstances, ze attack on my coaching record has been relentless," the former CCXV chief said. "Nobody told me when I zigned on as Coach that all Old Boy games ended in ze draw!”
"With zat in mind, we regularly come zecond in ze four team Boat Races, and zat is all zat matters to me.
"So what if [CCXV Prop] John Wood snapped his Achilles riding a wild camel back from ze pub…he shouldn’t have been out drinking Espresso Martini’s with Temple [fellow Bookend and Guinness Book Record Holder, Scott Hart] at four in ze morning when zey have been clearly coached to drink Rum.”
The injection of former Wallabies Dean Mumm, Jeremy Paul, Dave Carter, Mark Hartill and the return from injury for CCXV stalwart, Tony Daly, into the side for Forbes will see a return to punch upfront with Forbes Rugby Old Boys lacking visible paunch after secret early morning bootcamp sessions at Grinstead Oval.
Former Wallabies coach Eddie Jones, who was in the frame to replace Le Fleur last year after the Lithgow Training Camp debacle, and Stephen Larkham, current Assistant Wallabies Coach, are unlikely to be brought in to assist Macqueen, as per some media reports, with both the new CCXV mentor and Cauliflower Club President, Peter FitzSimons, both endorsing the promotion of Forwards Coach Hans Indaruck and Team Bus Driver, Pubby O’Hooligan into the Assistant and Forwards Coaching roles respectively.