The French Rugby Federation (FFR) have announced that Raphael Ibanez will continue as team manager of France.
Their statement comes after reports surfaced that the former hooker was set to depart the set-up following a breakdown in the relationship between him and head coach Fabien Galthie.
Midi Olympique had claimed that Ibanez was going to leave to take up another position within the governing body, but the FFR have quickly moved to deny that story.
In a statement released on Monday, it confirmed that the 49-year-old “continues to assume his role as general manager of the French XV.”
He will, however, focus on developing other aspects of the game in France.
As part of his current role, which he took in 2019, Ibanez “supports the development and coordination between all teams in France”, and “strengthens collaborations with professional clubs and players linked to the French XV.”
According to the FFR. the ex-international front-rower’s remit has been expanded, and it includes: “Contribution to the optimisation of relations between the FFR partnership service and the French teams, in order to enhance contractual commitments.”
He will also provide “assistance to high-performance commissions and participation in meetings of the high-level sector as a whole,” and “represent the high performance in national and international bodies, highlighting the importance of its expertise on a global scale.”
The statement added: “This strategic evolution in Raphaël Ibañez’s functions is part of our commitment to maximising performance within the FFR.
“His multidimensional expertise will be a major asset in carrying out these expanded missions and contributing significantly to the advancement of French rugby.”
Alleged fallout with Galthie
Reports in France have suggested that Ibanez’s relationship with Galthie has become strained in recent months, with issues both before and during the Rugby World Cup.
It is also claimed that Les Bleus’ head coach was also unhappy after ex-Test player Richard Dourthe, who is Ibanez’s brother-in-law, criticised Galthie.
Dourthe said on Canal +: “I think Fabien Galthie takes people for idiots. Everyone loves him, it’s perfect but they elude all the points that really interest us: why did we lose?
“Why were there so many injured? He smokes everyone with his data and I don’t think that’s what it means, respecting people who like rugby.”