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Thursday Feb 29, 2024

Renowned rugby commentator says pressure is on Fabien Galthié

Renowned rugby commentator Matt Williams offered an insight into the scrutiny that French rugby head coach Fabien Galthié is currently facing.

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Les Bleus have endured an abject opening three rounds to open their 2024 Guinness Six Nations campaign.

Suffering a heavy loss to Ireland in round one before scraping by Scotland under controversial circumstances, Galthié’s side would close out round three with a fortunate draw against Italy.

Why Italy could have potentially retaken their last minute penalty kick

These results come on the back of a heartbreaking one-point Rugby World Cup quarterfinal loss to eventual champions South Africa.

Yet, Williams outlined why he believed the head coach was now under pressure, and it is not exclusively to do with results.

“In my opinion, Fabian Galthié is a fantastic coach, and he has done a great job.” Williams opened before saying, “But he is seen amongst the rugby community as Bernard Laporte’s man.”

Explaining why being linked to Laporte is an issue, Williams said, “There was a lot of resentment, which I think is wrong, against Bernard Laporte and Fabian because they took time off the clubs.

“In France, it used to be the club’s first, and the national team was second.

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“So there was a decade before Galthié came in where the French were very poor, which was wrong because the French never had poor players.

“The French national teams never got anywhere near as much time together that the Irish, Welsh, Scots and English got.

“Before Galthié’s time, they would be playing this weekend back for their clubs, and the week before, they would’ve been playing for their clubs.

“There was no organisation, no camp which was wrong for the French national team.

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“Galthié and Laporte dragged the French clubs into the 21st century, but they didn’t like it, and they still don’t like it.

“There is politics going on to get new presidents in that will work more for the clubs, so the knives are out for Galthié, and I think it is very short-sighted.”

Digging into the political element of his statement, Williams said, “There is every kind of conspiracy theory being brought against him (Galthié) like the players don’t want him and this sort of thing, which I do not believe is true.”

Utilising contacts in French Rugby, Williams said his understanding was that Galthié is well-liked amongst the players and that they rate his coaching.

“My small interaction with any of the people involved with the national team is that they actually love Fabian Galthié, they love his coaching, and they think that they’ve got a very good balance within that group.

“Fabian has been around a long time, and when you’ve been around a long time in rugby, you get enemies as well as supporters.

“Fabian has got some high-profile people that don’t want him, and the media are going at him; who do they blame? They blame the boss, and that’s the way it goes.”

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