‘We have to live with this’ – France reflect on Ireland loss and refuse to give up on Six Nations success

David Skippers
France head coach Fabien Galthie.

France head coach Fabien Galthie.

Although he was disappointed with his team’s poor start to the Six Nations, following their loss to Ireland, France head coach Fabien Galthie insisted that the battle for the Six Nations is far from over.

The men from the Emerald Isle delivered a stunning performance in Marseille as they outscored their hosts five tries to two en route to their 38-17 victory that puts them on course to clinch back-to-back Grand Slam titles.

Not giving up hope

There was talk in some quarters of this fixture being a Six Nations decider as France also notched a Grand Slam in 2022 but despite his side’s defeat, Galthie is adamant that the Championship winners have not been decided yet.

“A defeat to open the Six Nations is definitely not a positive,” said Galthie. “It’s a defeat with its negative associations.

“We have to live with this as a squad. It’s a tough time but the tournament carries on. We still have four matches to play, with Scotland next up in eight days.”

France were never at the races and suffered a huge setback when Paul Willemse was sent off for two yellow card offences in the 32nd minute but apart from the second-row’s red card, Galthie bemoaned the lack of attacking structure shown by his troops.

“We weren’t on the ticket offensively,” he said. “Turnovers, dropped balls, less speed, we all agree.

“We prepared to deliver a fast game, to front up, to dominate the collisions. But to play with 14 players against Ireland, their own master, didn’t help us.”

Les Bleus’ replacement scrum-half Nolan Le Garrec believes they will bounce back from this defeat.

“We came up against a very good, well prepared Ireland team sure of their gameplan,” he said.

Staying positive

“It’s up to us to get back on the horse. We’ve got four games and I feel that the team is determined.

“It’s a tough one to swallow… but we still have our destiny in our own hands.”

READ MORE: Ruthless Ireland make perfect start to Six Nations title defence against 14-man France