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O'Driscoll holds nothing back in criticism of 'in trouble' Galthie

By Josh Raisey
France's Fabien Galthie (Photo by Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

Brian O’Driscoll believes France boss Fabien Galthie is “under serious pressure” following their surprisingly poor displays in the opening three rounds of the Guinness Six Nations.

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Les Bleus currently sit in fourth place in the Six Nations table with one win from three matches. After coming within one fallen ball off a tee from a first-ever home loss to Italy in the tournament in Lille on Sunday, the former Ireland captain says the French look low in confidence.

Appearing on Off the Ball following the 13-13 draw with Italy, O’Driscoll gave a scathing review of France so far in the 2024 championship, taking aim at plenty of the backline players as well as Galthie.

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Invisible, off the boil and unrecognisable were just some of the terms the Irishman used to describe players in France’s backline. With Wales in Cardiff and England in Lyon still to come for the French this year, O’Driscoll feels Galthie must be nervous heading into the final two rounds.

“I’d say he is in trouble, I really would,” said the 133-cap Ireland great said. “They would have been lots of people’s tips for the tournament, many people saying they were going to win the Grand Slam; that there is going to be the bounce-back from their disappointment.

Match Summary

2
Penalty Goals
2
1
Tries
1
1
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
138
Carries
113
5
Line Breaks
4
19
Turnovers Lost
11
4
Turnovers Won
7

“It has really hung over them. It feels as though, not saying it has unravelled, but it feels like it is unravelling. France have been at their best under Galthie. Particularly 2022, they played with a huge confidence and a belief and yes, there was a good bit of off-the-cuff, but it felt as though there was some form of structure.

“They are a team that looks low on confidence. (Matthieu) Jalibert went off injured but there is a tentativeness to them. My player of the tournament at the start (Jonathan) Danty has been invisible – he got himself a red card.

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“Previous to that he got a yellow card against Leinster in the Champions Cup earlier in the season for going in high like that as well. You just can’t run in at speed into a collision like that anymore.

“I’m surprised that they stayed with the tried and tested. I was sure that there was going to be an integration of some of these younger players that are emerging from the 20s and plugged them in. A bit akin to what Ireland have done.

“You don’t have to have wholesale changes, but to go with the same backline pretty much that that competed in the World Cup when you have got other guys starting to put their hand up, particularly (Nicolas) Depoortre this 13 for Bordeaux – really good player, big, long, rangey guy.

“I really surprised that after the first game in particular they wouldn’t go, ‘Okay, this guy is one for the future’. (Gael) Fickou is off the boil. (Louis) Bielle-Biarrey was injured and (Damian) Penaud unrecognisable compared to his Bordeaux form.

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“You are going to be missing (Romain) Ntamack and (Antoine) Dupont for sure, but it can’t be just that. It does feel as though there is something awry.

“Galthie must be nervous because, and we are all talking about it. I’m sure over there, I haven’t seen any of the French reports, but they must be saying that he is under serious pressure. Because now, Jamie Roberts feels like Wales can beat these – and they can.”

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