Saracens star Thomas Castaignede insists Andy Robinson has been made the scapegoat for England’s disastrous form.
Robinson got the boot yesterday after losing 13 of his 22 matches at the helm - including humiliating defeats by the likes of Argentina and Scotland.
But French flyer Castaignede, who lines up for the World XV against South Africa on Sunday, believes Robinson got the bullet too soon.
He said: "You cannot say everything is the fault of one guy - everyone has to take responsibility for the results. It is easy to argue against the coaching staff all the time but it’s the players who are out there.
"It is the fault of everybody involved but people prefer to blame the coach.
"England have been unlucky. You look at the games recently and they have been dropping the ball at the crucial moment. They are a very good team and when they get players like Jonny Wilkinson back they will be back to playing some good rugby.
"Life can change very quickly in international rugby. You look at South Africa - everyone said they were on the ropes and now people are saying they have a bright future."
France’s fortunes have mirrored England’s in the autumn tests, with two morale-sapping defeats to New Zealand and a narrow one-point victory over Argentina.
Those victories over France combined with their demolitions of England and Wales have made the All Blacks red-hot favourites to lift the World Cup for the first time since 1987.
But Castaignede is crossing his fingers history will repeat itself. Months before the 1999 World Cup, New Zealand handed out a 54-7 thrashing to Les Bleus only for France to turn the tables with a stunning 43-31 victory in the semi-final at Twickenham.
And Saracens utility-back Castaignede believes lightning can strike twice. He explained: "We did not do really well against the All Blacks. On a positive note just look at what happened before the 1999 World Cup and we came back to beat them in the semi-final. I hope we can do the same again.
"To be honest, the All Blacks are far above everyone at the moment yet it seems every time a World Cup comes around they peak just before the competition begins.
"Still they are a very strong team and anyone who beats them will have to be very good."