Fabien Galthié: “I hope the teams fear us”

Fabien Galthié: “I hope the teams fear us”

“What do you remember from this meeting against Wales?
Victory, a considerable gap and the offensive bonus.

And what is your initial assessment of this Tournament?
It’s 4 wins in 5 matches, 80% wins in the Tournament for four years. It’s very positive.

Are you switching to the next objective tonight, which is the World Cup?
Yes, it’s obvious that the next official match for the France team will be France-New Zealand at the opening of the World Cup, but give us time to finish our stay together. We have an evening to end, a morning to spend together, and then it will be time to say goodbye. Then, the next meeting will indeed be for the preparation of the World Cup.

What will you also remember from this Tournament in terms of play?
The game is above all the results. The objective for us is to win matches. We have 80% of victories, I think that in the history of French rugby that has never happened. This is a record for a team for four years, between two World Cups. In terms of play, there is a chance that we will finish as the best attack in the Tournament. In defense, we had to adapt to new rules, and we still need to improve our defense, to better understand these new directives.

“We have 80% of victories, I think that in the history of French rugby, that has never happened”

To what do you attribute your rise in power in the offensive sector since the start of the Tournament?
To necessary adjustments, to combinations. It is a form of work. Scoring a first-hand try is first about conquest, then coordination between conquest and attack. And the attack can be carrying the ball in front of the defense or behind the defense. We realized that we had started the Tournament halfhearted at this level, but we did what we could, we tried to do the best we could. And we have improved, it’s better to feel that there is progress.

You kicked less than usual. Was it inevitable given the context?
We hit 25 times and the Welsh 24 times. However, the rule says that if you hit more than the opponent you win. It happened again today. Let’s say there is a first game where we don’t have possession in this match. A good quarter of an hour where it is the Welsh who carry the ball in our ten meters. If we take away this first quarter of an hour which is therefore very difficult for us, where we don’t have the ball, we still managed to rebalance all that.

Typing for the sake of typing is not the goal. Kicking the ball is always about reading the available spaces, precisely thanks to the position of our attackers and in particular our two No. 10s. (Ntamack and Ramos) and Antoine (Dupont). But hey, when you put more than 40 points at home in Wales, it’s because offensively you were still good, whether in front or behind the defense.

“We still have an impressive win ratio. At the Stade de France, we have one defeat in four years”

You showed against the Welsh that you could have a lower selection average than your opponent but still win…
There, among the Welsh, we touch the finger on the ability to have an efficient succession plan. At home, it seems that for two years and their last victory in the Tournament, they have suffered the aging of certain executives who were top players at the international level. However, it does not take much to go from dominant player to dominated player. There, they are struggling to win matches, but today we felt that they were doing a kind of commando with historic players and their coach who accompanied them for three terms.

We felt that they came to play without complexes at the Stade de France. We saw a team capable of raising the bar very impressively. They had prepared their game well tactically. Fortunately, we have a solid team which is beginning to gain collective experience. We started with an average of 8 selections in February 2020 and four seasons later we are at an average of 26 selections. I would have liked to have a good ten more but it was not possible. For the health of the players and the balance of the seasons, that’s the best we could do.

Do you feel today that you are the team to beat and that teams often play their best game against you?
Yes, certainly, even if it is often a subjective judgement. I hope the teams fear us. We still have an impressive win ratio. At the Stade de France, we have one defeat in four years in stoppage time against Scotland when the match was won. »

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