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Benjamin Fall's early red card - rescinded by a World Rugby judicial committee 48 hours later - left Les Bleus a man light in the second Test against an All Blacks side who, to say the least, have had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.
|The Australia ball-tampering scandal one year on: Have the batsmen filled the Smith-Warner void?|
|Giants owner: Beckham trade left grandsons crying|
|McGee explains Lakers´ mentality after playoff elimination|
|Emotional Trout addresses Angels team-mates, fans for first time since signing extension|
|Peterson retires after loss to Lipinets|
|Kyrgios continues Miami run, Djokovic battles through|
|Kyrgios produces two underarm serves in Lajovic thrashing|
|Aldridge powers Spurs over Celtics to continue hot streak|
|Leading tight end and Super Bowl star – the numbers behind Gronkowski´s greatness|
|Stephens´ struggles continue as Halep, Pliskova reach last 16|
|Duke´s Williamson discusses win over UCF, matchup with Fall|
|Low ´very satisfied´ after win over Netherlands|
|WATCH: Hornets´ Lamb hits incredible game-winner from beyond half-court|
|Belichick praises Gronkowski: He was a major reason why we won championships|
|Taumalolo out for up to 10 weeks in blow to Cowboys|
|Keselowski dominates field, secures STP 500 win|
|Duke hold off UCF in thriller|
|O´Sullivan returns to world number one after nine years|
|NFL players congratulate Gronkowski after retirement announcement|
|Koeman accepts responsibility for Germany loss|
|Djokovic overcomes Delbonis in Miami|
|Southgate: Sancho, Alli, Henderson doubts for Montenegro-England|
|Gronkowski the GOAT – Brady reacts to Patriots star´s retirement|
|Toulouse beat La Rochelle to extend lead, Racing see off Bordeaux|
|Martinez commends ´mature´ Belgium display against Cyprus|
|Casey retains Valspar Championship|
|De Ligt: Netherlands were scared to attack Germany|
|Matchwinner Magennis hails Northern Ireland´s team spirit|
|Germany still have work to do despite dramatic Dutch win, says Low|
|New England Revolution 0 FC Cincinnati 2: Saief-inspired visitors up to second|
|Steelers GM says Roethlisberger deal will ´probably´ be his last|
|Patriots star Gronkowski retires|
|Northern Ireland 2 Belarus 1: Magennis sends O´Neill´s men top of Group C|
|Netherlands 2 Germany 3: Late Schulz strike settles Group C classic|
|Cyprus 0 Belgium 2: Hazard marks 100th cap with a goal in easy win|
|Dislocated shoulder rules Richardson out of Australia-Pakistan ODI series|
|Maradona slams players and ´inept´ AFA president Tapia after Venezuela defeat|
|Deschamps not worried about latest Coman injury|
|He makes others play well – Southgate salutes Henderson ahead of 50th cap|
|Pant masterclass gets new Delhi era off to winning start|
|Finch hits another century as Australia win second ODI|
|San Marino 0 Scotland 2: McLean and Russell earn Group I spoils|
|Hazard set to win 100th Belgium cap|
|England have no weaknesses, says Montenegro coach|
|Williams hat-trick provides welcome boost for Wigan|
|Pretorius promotion pays off as Proteas stay perfect|
|Clinical Exeter beat Bath to seal play-off spot|
|Giggs hails blend of youth and experience|
|Pochettino ´nearly crying´ at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium opening|
|France winger Coman ruled out of Iceland clash|
|Ramos was kind, not dirty or rough - King|
|Wales 1 Slovakia 0: James hits winner as Giggs´ men start brightly|
|Edwards muses on convenience of ´hypothetical´ England job|
|Warner´s timely knock overshadowed by Russell´s fireworks in Knight Riders win|
|Australia quick Richardson suffers dislocated shoulder|
|He´s happy in Madrid – Umtiti not expecting Griezmann reunion at Barcelona|
|New Durham captain Bancroft will learn from ball-tampering scandal, says club´s CEO|
|Foden: I´m learning from Silva and Kompany|
|Ferguson and Gutherson shine in Eels triumph, Tigers win again too|
|Davies wants Bale back at Tottenham|
|Sterling has been the best in the Premier League, says Maguire|
|Hend reigns following dramatic finish at Maybank Championship|
|The NBA should fine the Heat! - Brooks says Wade is too good to retire|
|Durant: Nothing odd about Warriors´ 35-point loss|
|Reds ease past Brumbies|
|Kvitova, Wozniacki advance as Osaka bows out|
|Andreescu overcomes Kerber again to extend winning run|
|MLS Review: Zimmerman stunner sends Los Angeles top|
|Walker scores 36 points as Hornets shock Celtics in Charlotte|
|Kingsbury says ´everything´s on the table´ with number one pick|