France is currently on the hunt for a new team manager following the departure of Raphael Ibanez from his position. Ibanez, who was appointed to work alongside Fabien Galthie after the 2019 Rugby World Cup disappointment, played a significant role in the revitalization of French rugby. However, their relationship has broken down over the past few months, with disagreements arising before and during the World Cup that have not been resolved 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, who is also Ibanez’s brother-in-law, accused Galthie of avoiding important issues and took issue with his coaching methods. The breakdown of their relationship 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 following several other coaches leaving their positions within the set-up. Despite these challenges, Galthie will have a relatively young team to work with and is set to be without his captain for the 2024 Six Nations, as Antoine Dupont focuses on developing his sevens skills ahead of the Paris Olympics.