On the occasion of the presentation of his staff, the new coach of the Blues details his roadmap for France to play the leading roles.
You mentioned the goal of being in the top 3 world but not to be world champion in 2023. Why?
Fabien Galthie: We have made a roadmap, that is the ambition towards which we want to tend. Quickly. But we did not give ourselves time or competition goals. We want to win matches, a lot, and titles. We also know that teams that perform well before the World Cup are also performing during the World Cup. It's coherent. Afterwards, it's the choice of semantics.
Do you feel that you will be entitled to a state of grace where you will be quiet for a while?
It's up to you to decide ! (Laughter) If we win matches quickly … "Quiet", is the word correct? I dunno…
What are your goals for the next Six Nations Tournament?
On January 19th, we welcome the players to prepare the match of February 2nd. We are on this objective. February 2, this match against England. On the 9th, we will play Italy …
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Where are you with the establishment of your list of 75 players for the group France?
We are working on it. The next seminar will be at Raphael's (Ibanez, in the Landes) in four weeks. We will have worked on it.
From what you saw at the World Cup, what are the limits to correct regarding the XV of France? The problem of crumbling in the second half?
We made this observation. It's amazing that in the seven games I've been to the staff, we've done a lot of things very quickly. And after, the air hole … The fight to win the matches or the defeat … It is an observation and these limits must be pushed back. We have ideas, of course. It's always a story of details. We talked about it with Shaun (Edwards, deputy in charge of defense), we must not overtrain. We have little time, so few words. We must find the right details. We have convictions.
"No one is forced to come in France team"
You mentioned the attachment of the players for the France team. How do you plan to revive this?
This notion of identity is one of the five goals we have set. It's clearly identified as something to work. The search for ideas will help answer this question. When we go to meet the players, the fundamental question will be: why? We expect strong answers, convictions that give strength to the base that we are asking. In our roadmap, there is also the requirement. When you go to France, you have to accept the requirement that it requires. Nobody is obliged to come in France team, it is not an obligation. If there is lack of conviction, it does not matter …
Have you noticed any gaps in some positions in the French team?
We must not trust first impressions. One can have this feeling on some positions of lack of density. The challenge for us is to go find potential. This is one of our missions. Selecting is identifying potentials. And be as wrong as possible because this list of 75 players, it puts us the pressure somewhere. On the confidence that we put in the players. The first year, we will discover. Some of the staff already know some of the players who made the World Cup. This pressure is exciting, it is what makes the particular taste of this job.
The XV of France is back since two World Cups. What did you remember from the failures of your predecessors at the head of the XV of France?
We have been, as a player and then in other lives, privileged observers. Coach or others … We observed a lot, we tried to understand. The organization we are presenting today is supposed to take a slightly different path. We are convinced of the path we are starting to build, the structural choices. Within the objectives that we have set, there are steps to be taken. This working method seems to be the best. The fusion of skills is the key.
"I do not think rugby has moved away from its roots"
You have chosen to come to the Lot, near your roots. Did French rugby move away from its roots?
There are 1,900 clubs in France. For most of us, we all have a story that is at the origin of us. I do not think rugby has moved away from its roots, it has worked in its own way. With some choices, at times. We, very early, we were attached to that. To regain strength, serenity.
Do you think to work with a mental trainer to avoid the adventures like that arrived at Sebastien Vahaamahina during the World Cup?
We have already started working with a "facilitator". He is not a mentor, nor a guru, but he has an approach that releases the energies and drives away the harmful thoughts that arrive quickly at the high level, because we touch our limits. This is where you have to have resilience abilities, some use the word mental endurance. There are skills, we do not forbid to return them. Maybe not in the first circle. Rather in the second circle.