Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
New Zealand New Zealand
France France

Galthie opens old wound with rebuke of RWC referee and one Springbok

By Josh Raisey
(Photo by Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Five months after France crashed out of their own World Cup at the hands of eventual winners South Africa, Fabien Galthie has revisited the fateful quarter-final match in Paris to take aim at the refereeing performance of Ben O’Keeffe.


Speaking at a review of France’s recent Guinness Six Nations campaign in Marcoussis, the head coach of Les Bleus addressed the 29-28 loss to the Springboks, something that many believe had an impact on their recent form.

While France captain Antoine Dupont was forthright in his excoriation of the officiating in the aftermath of the loss, Galthie was much more reserved. However, he took the opportunity this week to discuss the topic.

Video Spacer

Eben Etzebeth talks about when he will be back in action

Video Spacer

Eben Etzebeth talks about when he will be back in action

“We lost the quarter-final for rugby reasons but also for refereeing decisions,” he said, as reported by French outlet Midi Olympique (translated by Google).

“We also spoke about it with Ben O’Keeffe during a recent meeting at World Rugby.

“The decision is part of the match and we accept it. You will never see me react directly to an arbitration decision. But we can discuss it coldly.

“In a World Rugby committee, I therefore had the opportunity to speak with Ben O’Keeffe.

“At one point in the meeting there was a discussion about the behaviour of the selectors. I took the floor and said that we had a major role as educators and that we must behave with respect towards the referees. This is fundamental.

“I told him that my players had been strongly impacted by questionable decisions. Everyone agreed on the fact that some decisions weren’t the right ones. He wasn’t at all happy with his performance either.”


The South Africa players themselves were not out of the firing line of the former scrumhalf’s rebuke, with flanker Kwagga Smith being singled out.

“There is a ball stolen with elbows on the ground by Kwagga Smith which gives three points to the Springboks, for example.

“We today we want to count on the work of regulation and rules undertaken in these World Rugby committees. We must make our voice heard.”

France finished second in this year’s Six Nations, beating Wales and England in the final two rounds of the Championship.


Following a dismal loss to Ireland in the opening round, Galthie’s side scraped to a win over Scotland in round two before drawing to Italy in Lille- a result whereby they were saved by Paolo Garbisi’s infamous late penalty miss.

Galthie and his coaching staff were under serious pressure heading into the final two rounds, but he may well have saved his job with two markedly improved performances, capped by an epic 33-31 win over England in Lyon.



Join free



Trending on RugbyPass


As part of a series of planned improvements, we will need you to reset your RugbyPass password from 22/06/24 to continue commenting on articles.

You don’t need to change anything until that time.

Thank you,


Bull Shark 121 days ago

To be fair - Galthie has the right to complain about the refereeing of BoK at the World Cup.

But he should get a 12 month ban for doing so.

GrandDisse 121 days ago

The issue in this match was not that O’Keefe made bad calls - in every match referees make bad calls and the teams must be prepared for that - but rather that its refereeing was not in line with the 2023 World Rugby guidelines regarding the breakdown. Before 2023 Galthie’s France was happy to play without the ball and focused on kicking and a strong game at the breakdown to recover the ball and score points/flash counter-attack. That changed with the new regulations and the France/Italy 6N match, from which their strategy had to evolve to a game including more possession. In this quater-final the refereeing was very lenient regarding ground play and the boks took advantage of that, something that their opponents failed to do as their were just waiting for the whistle.
Actually I believe the issues the springboks had with refereeing consistency the years before served them well for this world cup as they manage to adapt in most situations (and perhaps playing in both hemisphere helped as well). For instance in the semi-final against England, BoK was way more strict regarding what player could do in the ground, and that gave a lot of troubles to the south africans in the beginning of the match, however they managed to adapt and recover in time.

John 121 days ago

France needs to learn to win without Dupont. Calls will always go with you and away from you - don’t put yourself in a position where the ref wins/loses you the game

If you’re a dominant team, dominate. The 1st game in 6 Nations showed how underprepared France was for a good team. Inconsistency always costs France so I think it’s a flaw in the drilling / approach

Gerald 122 days ago

Must admit Galthie needs to move on now. He should feel better at least that his side are the second best in the world after Ireland now. England much improved and are now third in the World. Reading all the opinions of the media and commentators thoughts, it appears world rugby strength is now firmly north of the equator. Thanks heavens there is no WC this year, as the Boks and ABs would have no chance, and Australia really no hope. If I was Galthie, and Borthwick, and Farrell, and Townsend, I would stop reading and listening to all the bullshit and get ready to face the south. The Aussies will be a totally different beast under Schmidt, and their sides already show massive improvement in SR. The ABs will be slightly in transition, but Razor is there. And Rassie has changed up his coaching ticket and will experiment a bit and test new players as well as tactics. I wonder the odds on a Southern Hemisphere whitewash?

Joseph 122 days ago

I’m proudly a French citizen but sadly the national malaise - complaining about almost every bloody thing - is evidently alive and well. There is a sense of entitlement in this country that would make even the most ardent BLM activist blush.

Red and White Dynamight 122 days ago

Bok supporters and their ‘50/50 calls’ and they went ‘both ways’ and ‘move on’. Theyre just priceless. Its OK, but only if its SA benefitting from it. Its OK for Rassie ‘The Waterboy’ Erasmus, he’s a genius for his ‘leaked’ Video nasties and blatant attack on the referees, no ‘50/50 calls’ on his edited highlights. Bryce Lawrence was victimised for years (and still is). A lifetime of referee whinging tells us all we need to know. Galthie is right. France were robbed. Cheaty Kolbe and his chargedown. That’s not a ‘50/50’, that should have been reviewed. Etzebeth and his 1-handed zero-attempt at an intercept was cynical and a YC and Pen Try. Unequivocally. But no, France have ‘only got themselves to blame’. Bok fans -> priceless. Or ‘sore loser’, worse winners.

Kenneth 122 days ago

Is France still crying months after World cup…So sad to hear and see..

Dan 123 days ago

He’s not wrong. But Barnes was also terrible too. But apparently you’re not allowed to point that obvious fact out to world rugby or the refs. They’re soft like soccer players it seems

Daniel 123 days ago

Oh well. There’s always 4 years from now.

Shaylen 123 days ago

There are 50/50 calls in every game. You cannot be happy when you get them and complain when you dont get them. Rugby laws are opaque and open to interpretation. Refs have a difficult job and its important to note that the ref did not make any clear and obvious bad calls on the day. All the perceived bad calls were of a 50/50 nature and there were a few that went against SA too.

Load More Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

Tim 3 hours ago
'It’s a mental thing': Joe Schmidt on the Wallabies' flyhalf issues

Ben Donaldson had not played Super Rugby for the past eight weeks. Surely, he was playing Shute Shield for Randwick in that time to keep up the fitness…?? Eight weeks is a long break to be thrust in against a hungry skillful side like Georgia who deserve to be in the “7 Nations”. (Italy, Wales & Scotland v Georgia, can’t wait to see those ones). In the second test against Wales, Donaldson was put on for nine minutes. That was a mistake from the coaching team, who already knew he was starting the following week against Georgia. They should have put him on for 20-25 minutes, with Nick Whyte at halfback, and their combination from the Force would have flowed. Donaldsons first 20 minutes against Georgia was a shocker. However, well done to Joe Schmidt for keeping him out there because Donaldsons game improved as the rust came off, he was hammered a few times and handled it and he came into his groove. He made mistakes which they will all learn from. Ben Donaldson is a naturally talented rugby player who the Wallabies have to stick with at no.10. “Over the black Dot-aldson” is a good nick name for him with his awesome goal kicking style. It looks as though, off the boot, it’s going to hit the post. Then it just curves in beautifully every time, once he is in the groove. Donaldsons play this season for the Force, with Kurtley and co., was amazing to watch. Kurtley making one of the best comebacks in history. Donaldson has to be played consistently with Flash Gordon, Big LEN, McReight, Tupou, Kellaway. Oh, that’s right, there is Bell, Kerevi, Petaia (This list does go on a bit). Donaldson will be slotting these weapons into gaps, and into the clear, before we know it… One more thing which I will just assume is happening, just include JOC in the Wallabies squad. He is a rugby genius. His skills, wisdom and experience would be infectious around the Wallabies relatively inexperienced backline. JOC has mastered the art of all the positions long ago. JOC is so skilled and match fit atm taking THE REDS, at no.10, within a point of beating Wales. He can come off the bench and slot into the backline for the Wallabies at 10, 12, 13 or 15 at any stage of a test match. Ummm yeah, not bad… I am assuming that BIG JOE, Laurie “Gandalf” Fischer, Mike “The scrum Doctor” Cron and the team obviously already know all this. I am just a passionate rugby union supporter, and I am very happy that these guys are in charge of the coaching duties, what a coaching team the Wallabies have been blessed with. (Good luck with selecting the match day 23 when Will Skelton, who was playing amazing rugby for La Rochelle, and the boys return from Europe/Japan, Samu Kerevi…???) Now just imagine having Bernie Larkham, Toutai Kefu, Nathan Grey and John “Nobody” Eales as your coaching apprentices… GO AUSTRALIAN RUGBY… Doing a great job Phil Waugh, Joe Roff, Dan Herbert and the team. An amazing three years ahead. GO THE WALLABIES… GO THE WALLAROOS… GO THE 7’s in Paris…

2 Go to comments
TRENDING Baby Blacks clinch best U20 Championship finish since 2017 title win Baby Blacks clinch best U20 Championship finish since 2017 title win