After months of tension and disagreements, France is currently searching for a new team manager following the departure of Raphael Ibanez. 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 been strained by disagreements that have not been resolved since the tournament ended.
The breakdown of the relationship between Ibanez and Galthie has been exacerbated by the actions of former Les Bleus player Richard Dourthe, who publicly criticized the France head coach. Dourthe accused Galthie of avoiding important issues and took issue with his coaching methods. The tension between Ibanez and Galthie 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.
The departure of Ibanez adds to the rebuilding job that Galthie will have to do on the coaching side, with several other coaches also 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.