Sebastien Vahaamahina did not even know he was captain when France slipped to Friday's rudderless 24-19 Guinness Six Nations loss to Wales in Paris.
The 27-year-old Clermont lock has made the startling admission that referee Wayne Barnes had to tell him he was skipper late in the second half, once hooker Guilhem Guirado had been replaced.
Vahaamahina's madcap wide pass over the top was picked off by George North, who raced in for his second try, completing Wales' record Six Nations comeback.
Warren Gatland's men turned a 16-0 half-time deficit on its head to tiptoe out of Paris with the win, and now Vahaamahina's latest revelation only serves to deepen the disorganisation among Jacques Brunel's men.
"I did not even know I was captain," Vahaamahina told Midi Olympique.
"It was the referee, Wayne Barnes, who came to see me on a penalty to ask me my choice.
"I told him to address the captain; he said it was me. The staff did not warn me."
France will move on to face England at Twickenham on Sunday, desperate to whip themselves into some kind of shape.
Louis Picamoles and Yoann Huget crossed for tries to put Les Bleus in almost total control at 16-0 at half-time in Paris on Friday.
But all poise deserted the French after the turnaround, with North crossing twice and Tomos Williams bagging a try.
- Press Association