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Report: France planning to stiff 2025 tour to play All Blacks

By Ben Smith
Players of France look on as they watch players of New Zealand perform the Haka prior to the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Pool A match between France and New Zealand at Stade de France on September 08, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by David Ramos - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

France head coach Fabien Galthie has laid bare his plans for the next Rugby World Cup cycle in 2027, which includes short-changing New Zealand fans when they tour down under in 2025.


They are planning to leave up to 20 players behind in France for the tour, most of their stars including Romain Ntamack, Antoine Dupont, Damian Penaud, Grégory Alldritt, and Peato Mauvaka among others.

“We follow a hundred players. But above all we have identified a ‘premium’ group of 20 players,” he said in an interview with L’Equipe.

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“We want them to have consistent development. We want to work hand in hand with the league and the clubs. Our goal is for players to be able to give the best of themselves in the French team, but also in club. We want to go further while taking into account the challenges of the clubs.”

“Players will benefit from four mandatory weeks off and four weeks without matches,” he added.

The Top 14 is one of the most demanding domestic leagues in the world, which makes the playing load for French eligible players one of the highest around the globe.

The decision to leave high profile players behind is a move to manage that load more effectively.

It was well publicised just how many injuries the French team dealt with during the lead in to the Rugby World Cup, with an extensive list of players racing the clock to be fit.


France also suffered from the loss of flyhalf Romain Ntamack on the eve of the World Cup during a warm-up match.

However, Galthie insisted that this is nothing new with the summer tours used in this way already. The 2021 tour of Australia featured a team of unrecognisable players with very few big names.

“We built on trust while adjusting the management of the international season by choosing to rest our ‘premium’ during the summer tours,” he said.

“It was a first step. We want to go even further which will mean that we will go on tour in the summer of 2025 in New Zealand without our ‘premium’ players.


“It’s been like this for four years. Why change strategy? Because we’re travelling to the All Blacks? You have to be consistent.”

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV


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Craig 11 days ago

We should just oppose with Maori All Blackks and/or All Black XV or U20 and possibly Black Ferns. I’d guarantee sell outs every game.

Also NO. Dupont is not anywhere near MCaw as the GOAT. Hes closing in on Carlos Spencer but that’s all. Stop getting over excited.

Ruby 13 days ago

The northern hemisphere seems convinced Antoine Dupont is the greatest player ever, the southern hemisphere disagrees because we have barely seen him play, have fun keeping it that way.

edward 13 days ago

No problem - Just prepare for a 50pt hiding that will scar your non-premium players beyond repair

Piotr 13 days ago

In Top 14, you can play up to 29 games if you. Add 8 potential games of Champions Cup. And 11 of international tests (5 for the 6 Nations, 3 for summer tests and 3 for fall one).
That’s potentially 48 games.

On average, players from the big nations (SA, ABs, Ireland, England) play 20 games/season. In France it’s 27.
Multiply it by the number of consecutive seasons, and you’ll have burnt-out players, physically and mentally. Just like Alldritt who asked for a 2 months break after the RWC.

So the lack of respect perceived by many is quite easy to put on a comment.
They’re not machines. And yet they’re playing 25% more games.
Rugby is more and more demanding, but so are the fans who’d like to have it like a video game: the best, always available, on demand.
They’re humans, just like you (I hope).

paul 13 days ago

The days of internationals are done. The world cup is a bore. The All Blacks were considered so good not based on world cups but on their 87% win rate over years. Winning the world cup every four years is nowhere near as admirable as that rate. That is lost on people now.

Colin 13 days ago

Is Rugby losing its allure amongst the ranking International Team sports? Or is it just because the ABs and NZ are not top 3 anymore that it doesn’t appear …. globally present? I place ABs 5th behind
Sth Africa

Mitch 13 days ago

New Zealand should return serve and send a weakened team next time they play in France. France would have no right to complain.

Liam 13 days ago

Fair enough

RugCs 13 days ago

And stiffed they will be having to pay top dollar in small stadiums only to watch a French B team.

Wayneo 13 days ago

The top French players play 26 games in the Top14 and from 4 up to 8 games in the Champions/Challenge Cup every year and almost double the 14 to 16 games the kiwis play.

Just a suggestion from my side, if kiwis don’t like this then maybe they should back the global season drive instead of being the ones who have constantly been against it.

Am I wrong in my assessment that if everybody rests together then they should always face the strongest possible opposition?

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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

63 Go to comments
Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

63 Go to comments
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