It was in December 2019. Fabien Galthié and Raphaël Ibañez, new coach and manager of the Blues, presented their project to renovate this XV of France that they had just taken over. It was then a question of enlisting everyone in a long-term adventure – 2023 and the World Cup in France on the horizon -.
To convince, the tandem had multiplied the interviews with the players in order to share their conviction. “We wanted to define a very rigorous framework on the way of living together, then explained Fabien Galthié. A form of pact, on which players are asked to commit. As a priority, exemplarity required, in their clubs already, and obviously in the French team. “
→ READ. Rugby: the discourse of the Galthié-Ibañez method
This speech is probably trotting in some heads today, at the time of the feuilletonsque count of positive Covid cases among the Blues and their supervision, demanding the postponement of France-Scotland scheduled for Sunday, February 28. Because for a week, the training center of Marcoussis has been hearing the same insistent rumor: a few days before Ireland-France, it is the coach Fabien Galthié who would have emerged from the health bubble set up around the XV of France.
A culpable prank?
The interested party disputes this, in his only daily commentary. The team February 24: “All my actions comply with health protocol. “ The internal investigation requested by Roxana Maracineanu, the minister delegate in charge of sports, must make it possible to verify this, as well as the other research that the Ministry of Health must carry out on the evolution of contamination within the France group.
What about “Patient zero” ? This ” fitness trainer “, very quickly mentioned but never appointed by the Federal Vice-President and “Covid manager” of the Serge Simon federation, was it only put forward to clear the coach?
Federal President Bernard Laporte promises to conduct this investigation, even if his conviction is already partly made: “I find it hard to imagine that there was a fault”, he proclaimed on February 25 at the microphone of France info. There is therefore no point in evoking a possible sanction from Fabien Galthié, of which nothing yet proves the small arrangement with the rules he imposed.
→ ANALYSIS. Fabien Galthié can savor the relaunch of the Blues
The boss of the federation knows what the French team owes to his playing master who, in just a few months, has transformed an old carne into a racehorse. Bernard Laporte also remembers the support of the coach in the recent electoral campaign for his re-election as president of the FFR.
The main sanction, in fact, could come from the France group itself. The credit of the coach is it now started with these players? This relationship of trust that he demanded, and which founded the “Moral pact” put forward from the outset by the coach, is it damaged?
In Fabien Galthié’s coaching career at the French Stadium, in Montpellier then Toulon, technical competence was not always enough to hide his difficulties in relationships or exchanges. At worst very divisive, at best elusive, his personality nevertheless seems well suited to this project in the national team, where human management is less regular and intense than in a club. And with a more rounded Raphaël Ibañez, he forms an apparently balanced tandem. Does the beautiful team thus scaffolded risk a bad fracture? One thing is certain: a good explanation could well end up being necessary.