Fabien Galthie reveals plans for 20 ‘premium’ France players who will miss All Blacks tour

Jared Wright
Antoine Dupont, Ardie Savea and France head coach Fabien Galthie

France will tour New Zealand in 2025 without some of the best players.

Fabien Galthie has revealed some of his plans for the 2027 Rugby World Cup and beyond, including a 20-man ‘premium’ list of stars who will not tackle the All Blacks in 2025.

In what is possibly the closest France have come to centrally contracted players, Galthie will enlist 20 players who will have their club minutes regulated by the national team with mandated rest periods.

The move is to align the French players’ playing loads with the global standard, with the head coach stating that, on average, the Les Blues players feature in seven more games a year than their counterparts.

France’s ‘premium players’ project

Galthie explained in an interview with respected French publication L’Equipe that the objective of the project is to ensure that Les Bleus players are able to give their best for the national team.

“We follow a hundred players. But above all we have identified a ‘premium’ group of 20 players,” he said.

“We want them to have consistent development. We want to work hand in hand with the league and the clubs. Our goal is for players to be able to give the best of themselves in the French team, but also in club. We want to go further while taking into account the challenges of the clubs.”

Galthie added that he wants the project to be a win-win for both club and country and did not want to get entangled in a power struggle.

The plan will see the season split in two with the 20 ‘premium’ players adhering to an eight-week rest period in July and August, which would mean that France will rest their best during their tours to the Southern Hemisphere.

“Players will benefit from four mandatory weeks off and four weeks without matches,” he added.

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Proven success

In 2021, Galthie selected a youthful squad to tour Australia to tackle the Wallabies in a three-Test series with players from the Top 14 finalists all omitted and he confirmed that they would be doing the same in 2025 with a tour to New Zealand.

“We built on trust while adjusting the management of the international season by choosing to rest our ‘premium’ during the summer tours,” he said.

“It was a first step. We want to go even further which will mean that we will go on tour in the summer of 2025 in New Zealand without our ‘premium’ players. It’s been like this for four years. Why change strategy? Because we’re travelling to the All Blacks? You have to be consistent.”

Galthie used Antoine Dupont as an example where the system has been successful, with the star back able to perform for Toulouse and the France Sevens team, featuring in key fixtures for both while still managing to get sufficient rest in.

The former scrum-half also revealed the list of 20 ‘premium’ players, with Toulouse making up half of the list.

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France premium players

Reda Wardi, Cyril Baille, Peato Mauvaka, Julien Marchand, Uini Atonio, Thibaud Flament, Emmanuel Meafou, Romain Taofifenua, François Cros, Grégory Alldritt, Charles Ollivon, Anthony Jelonch, Antoine Dupont, Nolann Le Garrec, Romain Ntamack, Matthieu Jalibert, Gaël Fickou, Yoram Moefana, Damian Penaud, Thomas Ramos

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