In one of his few media sessions after France’s quarter-final defeat to South Africa at the Stade de France, Fabien Galthié admitted that the result will haunt him for a long time to come.
“This is, as it were, a period of mourning for us. It is a huge disappointment after four years of hard and successful work. In the run-up to the showdown, we won around 80% of our matches and broke a few records,” said the French rugby coach.
The Roosters were many rugby fans’ favorite team to win the Webb Ellis trophy on their home ground. But on an October autumn evening in Paris, the Springboks messed up their plans when they tamed Antoine Dupont, Thomas Ramos and the patriotic home crowd to win the game 29 – 28.
According to Galthié, his team wanted to win at all costs.
“The only goal we wanted to achieve was to become the world champion team. There was nothing else.”
Would it have been better to lose by one point in the semi-final or final?
“Still, there would probably have been a difference because we wanted to experience as many World Cup moments as possible. After all, as a team we have been building for years after the tournament.”
Captain Antoine Dupont complained about referee Ben O’Keeffe’s whistle-blowing performance after the quarter-final.
“I understand that there is a lot of frustration and emotion involved; it is something that is difficult to process. However, the game is over and I will accept the decisions,” said Galthié.
The 54-year-old former player has signed a contract until 2028, which means he will remain in charge of the French until after the next World Cup in Australia.
France’s first game of the new year is against Ireland on February 2.
- The Roosters’ Six Nations fixtures:
February 2: France v Ireland
February 10: France v Scotland
February 25: France v Italy
March 10: France v Wales
March 16: France v England.