France is currently searching for a new team manager following the departure of Raphael Ibanez, who has left his position in the set-up. Ibanez was appointed to work alongside Fabien Galthie after the 2019 Rugby World Cup disappointment, and the duo played a significant role in the revitalization of French rugby. However, their relationship has reportedly broken down over the last few months, with disagreements arising before and during the World Cup that have not been repaired since the tournament ended.
The tension between Ibanez and Galthie has been exacerbated by the actions of former Les Bleus player Richard Dourthe, who publicly criticized Galthie. Dourthe accused Galthie of avoiding important issues and took issue with his coaching methods. The breakdown of the relationship between Ibanez and Galthie has led to Ibanez likely taking on a role within the French Rugby Federation that will not be attached to the men’s side, with a role in the youth and/or women’s sections being suggested.
Galthie will now have to rebuild his coaching staff after several other coaches also left their positions within the set-up. The departure of Ibanez adds to this challenge, but it also presents an opportunity for Galthie to bring in fresh blood and new ideas. Despite these challenges, Galthie is set to have a relatively young team to work with for upcoming tournaments like the Six Nations in 2024. However, he will be without his captain Antoine Dupont, who is focusing on developing his sevens skills ahead of the Paris Olympics.