Ex-Scotland international Johnnie Beattie has described Fabien Galthie as the Jekyll and Hyde of coaching.
The 34-year-old back row called time in his playing career in January having played for Glasgow Warriors, Montpellier and Castres forward finished with a three-year stint at Bayonne.
Along the way, he earned 38 caps for Scotland and his country’s latest outing in the Guinness Six Nations has had him reminiscing about France coach Galthie who signed him for Montpellier in 2012.
“He’s the best technical coach I worked with,” said Beattie in a BBC interview leading up to Sunday’s match at Murrayfield where the Grand Slam-chasing French are chasing their fourth successive win of the 2020 campaign.
“He was absolutely fantastic, ahead of the curve, but he struggled with player management. He struggled with being a decent human you want to buy into and work for. People bought into the fantastic rugby we played, not the culture or environment he would provide.
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“Even back then, I was with guys like (All Black) Rene Ranger, (France fly-half) Francois Trinh-Duc and (ex-Georgia captain) Mamuka Gorgodze and we all said this guy would be absolutely amazing in an international environment where he is not with players week in, week out. And it’s pretty evident that he is leading that resurgence with the French national team.”
Beattie suggests that life at Montpellier under Galthie was “survival of the fittest” as plenty of players cracked due to the savage set-up.
“I remember (assistant coach) Mario Ledesma screaming at a tight-head prop in a scrummaging session to try and work his way through the scrum to get the cheeseburger at the other side of it because he’s a fat pig. I laugh now, but when you’re in the environment, it was complete humiliation.
Fat pigs, verbal humiliation and stomach cramps – with France coming to Scotland on Sunday, what is it like to work under tyrannical coach Fabien Galthie?https://t.co/JkntuUEE0w pic.twitter.com/WYxh1mdOyC
— BBC Sport Scotland (@BBCSportScot) March 6, 2020
“Some people crumbled and didn’t stay very long – a few capped internationals came and went within two or three months. A lot of people had their confidence destroyed, needed to get out, or were bullied.
“He was a real Jekyll and Hyde of coaching in that he was absolutely wonderful in technical stuff but also very capable of burning personal relationships and burning a club environment. I struggled to stomach how he was with other people.”
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