France is currently on the hunt for a new team manager following reports that Raphael Ibanez has left his position in the set-up. Ibanez was appointed to work alongside Fabien Galthie after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, and the duo played a significant role in revitalizing French rugby. However, their relationship appears to have broken down over the last few months, as there were disagreements before and during the World Cup that have not been repaired since.
The tension between the two was not helped by the actions of former Les Bleus player Richard Dourthe, who publicly criticized Galthie last weekend. This public criticism added to the strained relationship, as Dourthe is the brother-in-law of Ibanez. Dourthe accused Galthie of eluding important points about the team’s performance and results in an interview with Canal +.
Ibanez is likely to remain in the French Rugby Federation but will no longer be attached to the men’s side, with a role in the youth and/or women’s sections being suggested. This leaves Galthie with a rebuilding job on the coaching side of things, as several coaching staff members have departed for other teams.
Despite the coaching changes, Galthie will have a relatively stable lineup in terms of players, as the majority are young enough to go through the next four-year cycle. However, he will be without his captain for the 2024 Six Nations as Antoine Dupont looks to fine-tune his sevens skills ahead of the Paris Olympics.