Fabien Galthie says France will be ‘scarred for life’ after Rugby World Cup heartbreak

David Skippers
France head coach Fabien Galthie.

France head coach Fabien Galthie.

France head coach Fabien Galthie has admitted that he is still finding it difficult to come to terms with his side’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final defeat to South Africa.

Les Bleus were in a rich vein of form at the global showpiece on home soil and won all their matches during the pool phase of the tournament, which included a 27-13 victory over New Zealand.

However, they suffered a narrow 29-28 loss to the Springboks in a thrilling quarter-final, and Galthie could not hide his disappointment at the result.

He has not spoken about his team’s defeat since their World Cup exit and said he wanted the tournament to reach its conclusion and allow his team to “mourn” their departure from the global showpiece before speaking to the media again.

Difficult to overcome the disappointment

“Four years of consistent progress, the only objective was to be world champion. The disappointment would have been the same if we’d lost by one point in the semi-final or final,” Galthie told Reuters.

“When you play for the French team at a World Cup, you have to be ready to win but also to live through what you’ve been through. There’s only one team that’s really been through a lot: the world champions.

“We’ll be scarred for life, and that’s part of our journey. We’ve all been through a kind of introspection, first personally and then collectively, about what we’ve been through.”

The Springboks went on to clinch their fourth Rugby World Cup title following one-point victories over England and New Zealand in the semi-finals and final.

Galthie said after analysing their quarter-final defeat; he believes he used the right tactics and would still employ the same strategy if given another chance to go into battle with the Boks.

“One point is nothing, but one point is everything,” he said.

“Tactically, I’d use the same strategy if I had to do it all over again… Despite the facts of the game and the match scenario, our aim was to play for the win right up to the last action, whatever happened.”

Optimistic about 2027 World Cup chances

However, the 54-year-old is still confident that France can turn things around at the 2027 Rugby World Cup in Australia.

“When we put the team together after the (2019) World Cup in Japan, we had a squad with an average age of 24. Against SA, our average age was 27,” said Galthie.

“In four years’ time, if the team stays the same, the average age will be 31. Depending on turnover, our collective experience could increase by two years and 20 caps.

“From that point on, I think the team will be stronger than the one that lost by one point to SA.”

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