Faltering France coach Fabien Galthie denies Rugby World Cup hangover

Fabien Galthie of France during the World Cup 2023, Pool A rugby union match between France and Uruguay on September 14, 2023 at Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq near Lille, France

France head coach Fabien Galthie said on Sunday his side were not in crisis after a dramatic 13-13 draw at home to Italy with the result coming five months after their disappointing Rugby World Cup exit. Picture: Matthieu Mirville/DPPI via AFP

Published Feb 26, 2024


France head coach Fabien Galthie said on Sunday his side were not in crisis after a dramatic 13-13 draw at home to Italy in the Six Nations.

Galthie's side were hammered by Ireland in the tournament opener before edging Scotland earlier this month.

Les Bleus were then within inches of losing at home to Italy in the tournament for the first time as Paolo Garbisi's 82nd-minute penalty hit the post.

The result came five months after the disappointing Rugby World Cup ended in defeat to South Africa in the quarter-final.

‘Painful moment’

"At international level, with France, our ambition is to win, when you don't win it's not positive," Galthie told reporters after being asked if his side were in a crisis.

"Often within the players when you don't win it can be a crisis.

"Right now, a loss at home, a win in Scotland, a draw with Italy, not the expected results, it's a difficult, painful moment," he added.

France have looked sluggish since the World Cup defeat to the Springboks, a stark contrast to Galthie's all-conquering first four years in charge.

Garbisi's last-gasp failure meant Les Bleus avoided a third-straight home defeat since 1998-1999, and a first loss to Italy since 2013 in Rome.

"I don't feel something's broken," captain Charles Ollivon said.

"We have to do better. We work on things but it didn't pay off today," he added.

'Emotional' Quesada

Next up for the 2022 Six Nations champions is a trip to Wales on March 10.

They will continue to be without regular skipper Antoine Dupont, away with France's sevens team before this summer's Olympics in Paris, as well as injured fly-half partner Romain Ntamack.

"It's a challenge, we will question ourselves, for us, our supporters we will work hard," flanker Ollivon said.

"We promise it and commit it.

"We will give everything to head to Cardiff and put in a good performance," he added.

Garbisi's agonising late failure meant Italy were unable to claim just a third Six Nations win since 2015.

"I missed the kick as I was coming down the lift from the coaches box. I believed we could win, it was an emotional lift," head coach Gonzalo Quesada said.

"We're not overjoyed but we're happy with the work done, the progress and the mentality.

"We're working on being a tough team to beat, not a team that concedes stupid penalties.

"Today we were in a position to win, I'm proud," the former France attack coach added.