French amateur rugby clubs have voted against employing a foreign coach for the France national side.

The referendum, which was in the form of an electronic vote by the French Rugby Federation, closed on Thursday, with 59 per cent of clubs saying they did not want a foreign coach leading Les Bleus to the 2023 World Cup.

While 41% voted yes, only 51% of clubs took part in the vote.

Current France head coach Jacques Brunel is set to leave the role after this year's World Cup, which finishes in November.

Warren Gatland, who will also leave his successful tenure as Wales head coach after the tournament in Japan, was thought to be a key target for the role.

Bernard Laporte, FFR president, said he will respect the decision made by the clubs.

In a statement Laporte said: "It's important for me to give the floor to the clubs. For two years, the FFR has taken a turning point in democratisation.

"The XV of France belongs first to amateur rugby clubs that train our future international players. The preparation of the 2023 World Cup, which we are proud to have won the organisation for in France, is a great opportunity to associate them with the choice of the future coach.

"The question of the French or foreign nationality of the coach of the XV of France is sometimes a debate for enthusiasts. To define this direction, the clubs voted 59% to not have a coach of foreign nationality.

"I welcome this democratic expression and of course, I will respect this choice. We can move forward serenely to build the necessary conditions with the goal of winning the World Cup in 2023."