Galthie opens up on 'scar' of failing to win World Cup

rugby08 November 2023 17:30| © AFP
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Fabien Galthie © Getty images

Over three weeks since their quarterfinal exit at the hands of South Africa, France coach Fabien Galthie finally opened up on Wednesday about the "scar that will stay with us for life".

Hosts France were one of the favourites to win the tournament but lost a thrilling quarterfinal 29-28 to the eventual champions.

"For us, it was a time of mourning," said Galthie who has not spoken to the press since the night of the loss on 15 October.

"It's a huge disappointment after four years of hard work, four years of successful work with 80 per cent wins and all those records.

"The only objective we wanted to achieve was to be world champions. There was no other.

"It would have been the same disappointment if we'd lost in the semifinal by one point. The disappointment would have been the same if we'd lost in the final by one point.

"The difference is that we would have had an extra week.

"The difference is enormous because we wanted to experience these moments that we've been working towards for four years. So the disappointment is enormous."

Galthie, 54, took over as coach in December 2019 and reinvigorated an under-achieving team.

Last month, following France's exit, he signed a new contract until June 2028, along with team manager Raphael Ibanez, defence coach Shaun Edwards and scrum specialist William Servat, allowing him to set his sights on the 2027 World Cup in Australia.

French rugby fans can expect more of the high-octane flare that has epitomised his team since taking over.

"Tactically and strategically, if I had to do it again, I'd do the same thing," said Galthie.

France's next test will be the Six Nations: they open against 2023 Grand Slam winners Ireland in Marseille on 2 February.