It was an unlucky 13th defeat in a row for France on Saturday, as their miserable run of form against New Zealand continued.
Benjamin Fall's early red card - rescinded by a World Rugby judicial committee 48 hours later - left Les Bleus a man light in the second Test against an All Blacks side who, to say the least, have had their number in recent years. At the Westpac Stadium in Wellington - a venue known as 'The Cake Tin' - the visitors were cooked after 12 minutes, eventually going down 26-13 to lose the series with a game to spare.
As if France's losing streak against New Zealand was not bad enough, they have now been defeated in 14 of their last 16 away games. Once a perennial contender for the title, their last Six Nations success came eight years ago, when they secured Grand Slam glory with victory over England in the final round of matches.
However, according to former France coach Philippe Saint-Andre, there are signs of encouragement.
The green shoots of recovery may not be visible in terms of results on the season-ending tour to the reigning world champions, but the process of change is slowly happening behind the scenes. Finally, the French Rugby Federation and the Top 14 clubs appear to be reading from the same page.
For Saint-Andre, the willingness for both sides to work together for the good of France is a long time coming. While the domestic game - awash with money - has risen in standard, the influx of finance, and consequently overseas stars, has been to the detriment of the national team's fortunes.
"The job of being the France coach is hard," Saint-Andre - who was in charge between 2012 and 2015 - told Omnisport at the HSBC Paris Sevens event.
"Like the Premier League in England, our [French] league is so strong, contains so much money and is so long. It's very difficult to get access to the players to prepare well for games.
"The clubs in the Top 14 need to play with more French players. We have started to realise that and we have some young players coming through with talent.
"When you have the French champions and only a few players from the starting XV are actually French, as was the case in previous seasons, that's not a good thing for the national team."
While Saint-Andre fears the partnership between clubs and country may not have arrived in time to revitalise France's bid for Rugby World Cup 2019 glory in Japan, he is at least now far more upbeat over the long-term outlook.
There were further positive signs on Sunday when France won the World Rugby Under-20 Championship for the first time in their history, Les Bleuets' 33-25 triumph over England in the final demonstrating the talent is coming through the system - now it just needs to have the chance to shine.
"For years the money was so big, our young talent didn't get enough game time," he added. "Our young players need to play.
"Money is important, but it's not all that matters. If you want success, if you want a presence in the international game, these talented players have to be playing rugby.
"It is what we've started to do – to be honest, we should have done this 10 years ago. But the game grew so much, the television rights became huge and presidents of clubs with lots of money wanted to buy the best players from around the world.
"Now we realise it is the time to look again, to look after our national team. The clubs and the national federation now realise the need to work together. That was not the case five or six years ago.
"I do think the French team will grow again. Maybe not for the next World Cup, but maybe for the one after that we will be competitive again."
Having co-founded PSA Academies in 2015, Saint-Andre is focusing on developing the future of the game, as well as working in the media.
Yet having previously taken charge of Gloucester, Sale Sharks and Toulon, as well as a recent stint working with Cameroon, he is not ruling out a coaching comeback in the future - but only if he gets an offer that is simply too good to refuse.
"I'm coaching young players. Developing players is so important," Saint-Andre said.
"I have PSA academies across Europe, and we open in the United States soon. We have young players from nine to 17 and are working with modern technology, as well as on their fitness and with different coaches.
"I also do some radio and television work, but I would never say no [to coaching again]. If I have a great opportunity to take a team, I would do it.
"But it has to be a great opportunity. I've said no to some projects, because when you've coached Toulon, Sale and France, it needs to be something quite exciting."
While unsure of his own return to the professional game, Saint-Andre is more certain over France's future. After a prolonged period in the doldrums, he believes Les Bleus may finally be on their way back.
Philippe Saint-Andre was speaking at the HSBC Paris Sevens on behalf of HSBC. The title sponsor of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is working in partnership with World Rugby to reach new fans, support the growth of Rugby Sevens worldwide and fulfil their shared goal of helping the sport thrive in the long term.
|Mayweather: Nasukawa exhibition back on|
|Witsel: Joining Borussia Dortmund my best career decision|
|Ballon d´Or win would not change Modric´s ´best year´|
|Ireland v New Zealand: Opta stats behind the meeting of the world´s top two|
|The Breakdown: A statistical look at Saturday´s rugby internationals|
|Batshuayi dismisses reports of Valencia departure|
|Brazil must make Copa America final – Tite|
|Rockets rout Warriors as Green goes scoreless|
|Seahawks rally past Packers|
|Lakers G Rondo to miss 4-5 weeks|
|Durant is done with questions about Green|
|Smith, Warner set to return to IPL in 2019|
|No rivalry between Mbappe and Griezmann – Deschamps|
|Neymar: Emery will bring success to Arsenal|
|Jedvaj backs Croatia to deliver against England|
|Howell grabs first-round lead at Sea Island|
|Rooney backing Kane to break England record|
|Betts named American League MVP|
|Republic of Ireland must improve, says under-pressure O´Neill|
|Injured Sergio Ramos to leave Spain squad|
|Yelich named National League MVP|
|Low praises ´beautiful goals´ from Sane and Gnabry|
|Belgium boss Martinez pleased with patient Batshuayi|
|Wilson and Sancho pay tribute to England ´legend´ Rooney|
|Rooney gave England squad a lesson in humility - Southgate|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: LeBron passes Chamberlain, Williamson looking like he is next|
|We still have a chance - Luis Enrique not giving up hope after Spain defeat|
|Rockets ´parting ways´ with Anthony|
|Rooney became ´embarrassed´ at Manchester United|
|Federer: ´Easier´ to play when I´m up against it|
|Rooney convinced England are in safe hands with Southgate|
|Black Caps skipper Williamson confident over first Test availability|
|Federer cruises into last four of ATP Finals for 15th time|
|Republic of Ireland 0 Northern Ireland 0: Randolph saves light up bore draw|
|England 3 United States 0: Experimental side impresses on Rooney farewell|
|Croatia 3 Spain 2: Jedvaj keeps World Cup finalists in contention|
|Belgium 2 Iceland 0: Batshuayi rekindles Hazard flame with match-winning brace|
|Germany 3 Russia 0: Sane on target as Low´s men stroll|
|´Fancy taking a look at Brexit?´ - Southampton credit Austin with VAR breakthrough|
|Green: Altercation with Durant will make Warriors stronger|
|Juventus star Dybala dismisses Manchester United links|
|Strinic given all clear to return to AC Milan training|
|Papier wait over as scrum-half starts for Springboks|
|MLB commissioner Manfred gets five-year extension|
|South Africa international Du Preez joins brother at Sale|
|Pogba and Sterling support my football dream, says Bolt|
|Asensio wants to ´feel more important´ at Real Madrid|
|Former Roosters and Cowboys centre Linnett joins Hull KR|
|New team tournament ATP Cup wins Djokovic´s approval|
|Roma and Pallotta donate €150,000 to injured Liverpool fan Sean Cox|
|England captain Root reprimanded on frustrating day in Pallekele|
|Jokanovic proud of establishing Fulham´s ´footballing identity´|
|Huget to make first France appearance in a year|
|Mourinho and squad ´united´ despite ´mixed´ start, says Woodward|
|Petaia and Gordon to make Wallabies debuts in Padova|
|Barcelona star Arthur determined not to let Xavi praise go to his head|
|Youthful Netherlands have forged strong bond - Wijnaldum|
|Premier League confirms £5m package for departing chief Scudamore|
|Thiem blasts past Nishikori to keep semi-final hopes alive|
|He´s always got time for me – Gerrard loved learning from Liverpool boss Klopp|
|Kearney and Ringrose return for All Blacks clash|
|Molinari on course for Race to Dubai title, Smith and Otaegui lead|
|Premier League to implement VAR from 2019-20 season|
|FSF urges Premier League clubs to reject Scudamore ´golden handshake´ request|
|Rhinos pull off Merrin coup|
|Ribery apologises for reporter altercation|
|Ford to captain much-changed England, Cokanasiga starts|
|Crotty replaces injured Williams for Ireland showdown|
|Classy Roshen gives Sri Lanka unlikely lead|
|Injured Lukaku out of Belgium-Iceland Nations League clash|