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'Without offending anyone' - How Bastareud feels watching France

By Ian Cameron
France and Toulon centre Mathieu Bastareaud (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Former France centre Matthieu Bastareaud has expressed his discontent with the coaching style he experienced during his time representing France, not least as he watches on as the current French team reach new heights.


In an interview with Var Matin, Bastareaud admitted to feeling a tad jealous of the current success of the French national team under Fabien Galthie and bemoaned the lack of continuity in selection that hurt the teams he played in at Test level.

Bastareaud’s comments come as France finished second in the Guinness Six Nations and head towards a home Rugby World Cup as many people’s favourites for the title.

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It was all very different when Bastareaud was playing, particularly during Philippe Saint-André’s tenure as head coach. The team struggled to find its rhythm, with inconsistent selections and a lack of clear direction on the pitch.

“We discussed it with Guilhem Guirado. We would not like to be part of their group because it belongs to them, but we would have liked, without offending anyone, to have the same supervision. We feel that around them there is a virtuous circle that we did not have.

“It was complicated for us because there was no continuity. I do not remember that even fifteen has chained two games. You had no room for error. You had a bad match, even an average match, you went out. We didn’t have that positive pressure. You can’t build something when you change teams all the time.”

Bastareaud remains optimistic about the future of French rugby and believes that the current coaching team has the potential to lead the team to success in the upcoming Rugby World Cup.


“Today, the staff is making changes, either due to injury, poor form or because a UFO arrives. Stability brings serenity. We have never evolved in serenity. As a player, I didn’t feel protected by the people around us. If we had a bad game, we were attacked and nobody defended us. The only answer was to get us out of the team.”


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