France legend Philippe Saint-Andre said it was a dream and an honour for him to be named the next coach of the French national rugby team.
"I am very proud to have been chosen," said the 44-year-old Toulon director of rugby who was named last week as the successor to the current national coach Marc Lievremont after the World Cup on December 1.
"I am filled with pride even though in terms of timing it is not the best. I have a sense that I have not achieved what I wanted with Toulon," he added.
The president of the French rugby federation said that the date for Saint-Andre to leave Toulon was not set in stone.
"Philippe Saint-Andre will start his duties when he decides. December 1 is no more than the day that his contract begins," he exlained.
In a bid not to disrupt the French clubs further, Saint-Andre's assistants will not be named formally until after the World Cup although media reports claim they are likely to be Toulouse forwards coach Yannick Bru and Biarritz coach Patrice Lagisquet.
Nicknamed "Le Goret" - or "The Pig" - Saint-Andre played the bulk of his club rugby for Clermont before moving to Gloucester in 1996. He won 69 caps for France between 1990 and 1997, captaining them 34 times.
His first coaching job came at Gloucester before he moved to Bourgoin and then Sale Sharks with whom he won the English championship in 2006. He returned to France in 2009 with Toulon, reaching the semi-finals of the French championship in 2010.
His first game in charge of the French team will be in the Six Nations against Italy at the Stade de France on February 4.
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