France coach Galthie ‘delighted’ by start to his reign

PARIS (AFP) – France head coach Fabien Galthie said on Tuesday he was ‘delighted’ by his side’s progress after his first four games in charge.

Former Bleus captain Galthie, who took over from Jacques Brunel before this year’s Six Nations, has led his team to three wins in their first four matches with their final fixture in the tournament against Ireland postponed to the end of October due to coronavirus fears.

“What predominates with us (the coaches) is the pleasure of having experienced these seven weeks together. Unconditional pleasure and delight,” Galthie said.

“Practically non-stop seven weeks of delight at a crazy rhythm. I have incredible images in my mind,” he added.

Here AFP Sport look at three points to take away from a rejuvenated France, who, after a decade of disappointing results, beat England, Italy and Wales before losing in Scotland.

Galthie’s men started their first three matches in impressive fashion before the trip to Murrayfield.

They scored tries in the first 10 minutes during the victories over Rugby World Cup runners up England, the Azzurri and in Cardiff. Yet after their strong openings, they allowed Eddie Jones’ men back into the game, lost focus late on against Italy and ended up holding on against Wayne Pivac’s Wales.

In Edinburgh, France’s chances of a good start were undermined by hooker Camille Chat injuring his calf in the warm-up, flanker Francois Cros earning a yellow card

after four minutes and Romain Ntamack leaving the field with concussion after eight minutes.

Former scrum-half Galthie chose to start all four matches with the half-back partnership of Antoine Dupont, who is 23, and 20-year-old fly-half Romain Ntamack.

Despite their youth, the Toulouse pair, who have begun just two matches together in those positions for their club, were handed control of les Bleus.

Dupont was monstrous in both attack and defence, filling in as a ninth forward on occasions and sparking some outstanding play with ball in hand.

France’s head coach Fabien Galthie and team manager Raphael Ibanez give a press conference in Marcoussis, south of Paris. PHOTO: AFP