Mermoz denies fallout with coach Philippe Saint-Andre.
France centre Maxime Mermoz, dropped from the France side after the second Six Nations defeat to Wales, insisted that he had not fallen out with coach Philippe Saint-Andre.
“There’s no misunderstanding. I’ve got my ideas but the selectors made their choice and I respect them,” the Toulon player said in an interview with AFP.
“Patrice (Lagisquet, Saint-Andre’s assistant) tried to call me but I was ill and I didn’t reply. You can give any excuse but it’s up to me to prove my worth and work hard,” he added.
Mermoz said that given France’s plight — rock bottom of the Six Nations table and playing this weekend to avoid the humiliation of four defeats in the tournament — it was more important to focus on turning around the side’s fortunes than his own.
The 26-year-old, capped 24 times for Les Bleus, played in the World Cup final against New Zealand and was in the side for the Six Nations defeats to Italy (23-18) and Wales (16-6).
“Against Italy, there was a sense of a lack of ambition. Against Wales, defensively I did my job. In attack, when you are the outside centre, it’s not easy to take the initiative. You’re up against it.
“Against England, there were counter-attacks which wasn’t the case against Italy and Wales,” added Mermoz, attributing the side’s current woes to too many matches that had left players “mentally worn-out” before even the start of the Six Nations.