“Full of problems await the XV of France”

The Blues coach went into detail about the Blues’ progress in the tournament, their status change and the pitfalls they will need to avoid for the 2023 World Cup.

Relaxed and smiling, Fabien Galtier gave a lengthy press conference this Wednesday at the Stade Jean-Bouin to return to the historic tenth Grand Slam reached by France’s XV team. He was accompanied on this occasion by Max Guazzini and Thomas Lombard, former president and current CEO of Stade Français Paris respectively. After a long detailed description of his super-scientific working method and explanations of how they do the job through video analysis, he burst into tears when he saw the latest episode of Destins Mêlés, a web series produced by FFR that followed the Blues as closely as possible during the tournament. After that, he looked over his news and the Blues news.

Can you confirm the extension of the coaching contract until 2027?
Fabienne Galtier: I can confirm that Bernard Laporte confirmed to me the day before the match that he would extend me for four years. I confirm this to you. He told me a quarter of an hour before he announced it to everyone. We discussed our project, it’s not just a contract extension. I take this opportunity to thank Bernard Laporte, who followed me to Toulon three years ago to offer me this challenge. This was mentioned after the All Blacks (in November). I didn’t rush, I handled the situation perfectly. I am very happy and fulfilled in this mission. But I am very flattered that he took care to announce it. To share it. I thank him for his trust, for his respect. He is a great president. I would even say to myself that he has the posture of a king.

Will other members of your staff be by your side until 2027?
As soon as I retire, that is, in the coming days, this will be the subject of separate discussions. What are the wants and needs of everyone? The staff is better than it was when I took office. He gained, like the team, experience. We will be better as the matches progress. The peak is expected soon. The collective experience of the players is important. The fact that on February 2, 2020, a team of 24 middle-aged and 8 rebounds was drafted to attack the Tournament was a conscious choice in terms of competence, in terms of potential. We were asked about the lack of experience of the players. Our vision was to create a collective experience. The team is now 25 years old and over 20 tackles, it’s not the same as when it started. And we’ll get better.

There is no reason to doubt Antoine’s captaincy. But there is a story that has been around for 2 years. We will tell you about it when we discuss it among ourselves.

Fabienne Galty

Are you worried about your players becoming relaxed?
Everything is just possible. We can catch the boulard too. There are many problems ahead of us. Because it’s a sport and we plan, actually everything, we have a plan, but as soon as the match starts, we come to the unexpected. Competition at this level is unexpected. So get ready for the unexpected. As for our change of status, it started when we beat England. There were many questions and doubts about where we were going. Only victory proves our rightness. Very early we worked on our status.

Will Antoine Dupont be able to remain captain of the XV of France even when Charles Olivon returns?
It’s a topic, of course, but should we talk about it now? Should we put it back on the table? Antoine had a great tournament, he’s a great captain. He is accompanied by vice-captains: Julien Marchand, Greg Aldritt, Anthony Jelonch, Gael Fiku. And then there is Charles, who resumed the game with Toulon against Montpellier. We are going to follow him, we hope he gets back in shape very quickly to apply for this group. We’ll see. There is no reason to doubt Antoine’s captaincy. But there is a story that has been around for 2 years. We will tell you about it when we discuss it among ourselves. We want to be transparent and share, but there is something about men and respect for men. We will find time to answer you in a few months.

The dressing room is open. All French players will one day be able to enter our dressing room. We don’t forbid anything.

Fabienne Galty

During this Tournament, you made two bets, bringing back Melvin Jaminet and pushing Cameron Waukey to second place. Can we expect more surprises in the future?
The dressing room is open. All French players will one day be able to enter our dressing room. We don’t forbid anything. There may be injuries in our sport, but we must move forward.

You thanked the clubs that provided their players for a long time. What did you talk about with the presidents of Toulouse and Bordeaux-Begle, the biggest international suppliers?
They were daily. They were always the first to know who we left, who we took away, who we released. It’s a paradoxical prescription: it’s great for the player, but hard for the club. We tried to finish training on Wednesdays at 15:00 to announce our team line-up at 17:00. This allowed the released players to board the last trains or planes to join their club.

Doesn’t it bother you that you are portrayed as a caricature of a brain simulator?
Say what you want, I don’t mind… Max (Guazzini, present in the room) would like me to change my glasses, I would have to go to the hairdresser… Say what you want, that’s all. I have been away from all this for a long time. You can go there in the cartoon. I’m on a mission.


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