Hayman axed by French club after bust-up

Carl Hayman in action for the Highlanders against the Brumbies at Carisbrook in May 2007. Photo:...
Carl Hayman in action for the Highlanders against the Brumbies at Carisbrook in May 2007. Photo: Getty
Former All Black and Highlanders prop Carl Hayman has been axed as forwards coach by French club Pau, after reportedly being involved in an altercation with some of his players.

Hayman (39), who played 45 tests between 2001 and 2007, was involved in a bust-up with unnamed players at the start of the week and has been relieved of his duties as forwards coach, the club said in a statement.

He was not involved with any training sessions in the build-up to Pau's 40-23 victory over Bordeaux-Begles - the team's first league win since October.

Hayman has been in charge of the Top 14 side's forwards since 2016 after winning the French title and three European Cups as a player with Toulon.

Pau president Bernard Pontneau confirmed former Brive coach Nicolas Godignon will take over from Hayman but insisted the former front-rower will remain involved with the club.

"Carl is moving on to a personal project which we will support. He will stay with the club until the end of June. Nicolas Godignon will join us next week," Pontneau told French broadcaster Canal+.

Pontneau didn't give details about the altercation but said the decision to sack Hayman "touches me personally".

"I have a lot of affection for him, for the person that he is. It'd a feeling shared by the entire club," Pontneau said.

Fellow New Zealanders Simon Mannix, Conrad Smith and Paul Tito are also part of the coaching set-up at Pau, while the club has seven New Zealand players on their books - including World Cup winner Colin Slade.

Hayman made his test debut in 2001 but only established himself as the first-choice tighthead under Graham Henry in 2004.

He was only 27 when he signed with Newcastle for a then-record $1 million annual salary with Newcastle. He signed with Toulon three years later.

Last month, Pontneau slammed New Zealand Rugby after All Black flanker Ardie Savea backed out of a deal to join the club, with the 25-year-old Hurricanes flanker deciding to remain in New Zealand at the last minute.

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