Fabien Galthié to continue as France coach despite home World Cup exit | Rugby World Cup 2023
Fabien Galthié will continue to lead France’s quest to win a first Rugby World Cup despite the host nation failing at the first knockout hurdle in Paris over the weekend having been given unprecedented resources to succeed.
Galthié had 42 players at his disposal for every training camp, a 50-strong staff, including a top referee on the payroll, but France bowed out in the quarter-finals, beaten 29-28 by the defending champions South Africa.
The agreement between the French federation and the league, who manage the Top 14, runs until the next World Cup. While changes will be made within the staff, there will be no cutbacks on budget despite financial difficulties.
Assistant coaches Laurent Labit and Karim Ghezal are leaving and being replaced by (backs coach) Patrick Arlettaz and (assistant forwards coach) Laurent Sempéré, while the head of performance, Thibault Giroud, and doctor Philippe Turblin are also exiting. The defence coach, Shaun Edwards, and the general manager, Raphaël Ibañez, are staying alongside Galthié, backed by the French rugby federation.
“I’m not bothered by the fact that we’re registering a €16m deficit in 2022-23 and that the 2023-24 deficit will be around €20m,” the FFR president, Florian Grill, said on Tuesday. “Fabien [Galthié] is the man of the situation. We cannot forget what has been done in the last four years because we lost that game [against South Africa] by one point.”
Some have been critical of the licence given to Galthié, with the former France coach Guy Novès pointing out to L’Equipe that after losing a Test 18-17 against the Springboks in 2017, the result was deemed a catastrophe.
But Grill said: “The FFR and the LNR [league] speak with one voice. The World Cup has been a success and we’re expecting an increase in the number of rugby licences by 15 or 20% by December. I am not worried at all, we will continue to work hand in hand.”
Meanwhile the Fiji coach, Simon Raiwalui, will leave his post when his contract expires at the end of December, despite leading the Pacific island nation to a quarter-final place at the World Cup, he said on Tuesday.
Fiji won plaudits for their run at the tournament, which was ended by England in a 30-24 defeat in Marseille on Sunday. After that a visibly emotional Raiwalui praised his team and said they had laid a platform for the next generation of players.
“I guess it is time to make it official, specifically what the next cycle will look like for Fiji Rugby. I will not be seeking an extension of [my] employment with FRU past 31 December,” Raiwalui confirmed on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.
“Thanks again to the players, staff and all the supporters, it has been quite a ride!” Fiji Rugby did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The New Zealand-born Raiwalui was appointed coach in February this year after Vern Cotter stepped down, having previously been high performance director.
Fiji beat Australia and Georgia in Pool C but lost against Wales and Portugal. They rallied from 14 points down to draw level at 24-24 against England going into the final 10 minutes of their quarter-final, but lacked the experience to claim the win. It was Fiji’s first World Cup quarter-final since 2007 and their third overall.
Ireland’s Keith Earls is also, as widely anticipated, taking his leave from professional rugby union and retiring with immediate effect.
“I have always tried to be a good friend and teammate and give all of myself to the jersey,” Earls, 36, said in a statement released by Irish Rugby. “While retirement is never an easy decision, now is the right time and I feel incredibly fortunate to go out on my own terms representing Ireland on the highest stage.”
Earls started his professional career with Munster in 2006 and made his Ireland debut in 2008, winning a total of 101 caps, scoring 36 tries. He started all of Ireland’s matches during the 2018 grand slam-winning campaign and took part this year in his fourth World Cup.