The French only narrowly managed to avoid a final round ambush in Rome against Italy at the weekend and local rugby newspaper Midi Olympique are reporting in their Monday print edition that Fabien Galthie is back in the frame to become involved before Japan 2019.
Brunel was an emergency choice as France coach following the December 2017 sacking of Guy Noves. However, his stint in the job hasn’t brought about an improvement.
The French have only won five of 16 matches on his watch and their second successive fourth-place Six Nations finish arrived on the back of a disjointed campaign where there was constant speculation about trouble within the camp at Marcoussis.
That extended to the players resorting to taking a vote of confidence to ensure hooker Guilhem Guirado remained on as skipper after his leadership had come under fire in the wake of the heavy loss to England at Twickenham.
(Continue reading below…)
That setback in London prompted speculation that Galthie could be parachuted in mid-campaign, but Laporte quickly cooled that talk. “For now, there is no question. But if Jacques asks me, I’m not against it. It’s Jacques who decides,” he said at the time.
However, that door to Galthie has since been re-opened following Laporte’s latest remark on the situation while in Rome.
“I think he [Brunel] answered the question for the Six Nations tournament but not for the World Cup. Once again, the request must come from them,” he said ahead of a week of staff post-mortems about a Six Nations where France lost to Wales, England and Ireland.
Galthie was in Italy on Saturday, commenting on the match for the France 2 TV station, but was believed to have steered clear of any mingling with the French squad.
Midi believes the biggest stumbling block to Galthie’s inclusion on the management ticket is the question of whether or not he can work with Brunel’s assistant Jean-Baptiste Elissalde.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.