Fabien Galthie faces the press after Marseille horror show against Ireland

In the wake of France’s 38-17 loss to Ireland in the 2024 Guinness Six Nations opener in Marseille, head coach Fabien Galthie has been candid about the team’s performance and the road ahead.

The French found themselves on the back foot against a disciplined Irish team who took France to the cleaners after a red card for second row Paul Willemse following two yellow card infringements, the second of which was upgraded to a red. Galthie and his squad are now left to ponder what went wrong and how to regroup for the rest of the tournament.

“A defeat to open the Six Nations is definitely not a positive,” Galthie reflected in the post-match press conference. “It’s a defeat with its negative associations. We have to live with this as a squad. It’s a tough time but the tournament carries on. We still have four matches to play, with Scotland next up in eight days.”



The match was marred by the aforementioned red card for Willemse, an incident that Galthie believes significantly hampered France’s ability to compete.

“To play with 14 players against Ireland, their own master, didn’t help us,” admitted Galthie.

Ireland seized the numerical advantage and exerted pressure that Les Bleus ultimately failed to counter. Galthie was particularly critical of France’s attacking structure, or the lack thereof, during the match. “We weren’t on the ticket offensively,” he lamented. “Turnovers, dropped balls, less speed, we all agree. We prepared to deliver a fast game, to front up, to dominate the collisions.”

However, the reality on the pitch fell short of his pre-match aspirations, with the Irish defence effectively stifling French attempts to gain momentum. After their ignominious exit from the Rugby World Cup three months ago, the question now is how much leeway Galthie has left with the French rugby public.


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