The French Rugby Federation is currently on the hunt for a new team manager following the departure of Raphael Ibanez, who held the position alongside Fabien Galthie after the 2019 Rugby World Cup disappointment. Ibanez played a significant role in the revitalization of French rugby, but their relationship has reportedly broken down over disagreements that have not been repaired since the tournament ended.
The tension between Ibanez and Galthie has been exacerbated by former Les Bleus player Richard Dourthe, who publicly criticized Galthie and accused him of avoiding important issues. Dourthe, who is also Ibanez’s brother-in-law, took issue with Galthie’s coaching methods. The breakdown of their relationship has led to Ibanez likely taking on a role within the French Rugby Federation that will not be attached to the men’s side, with suggestions for roles in youth and/or women’s sections being explored.
The departure of Ibanez adds to the rebuilding job that Galthie will have to do on the coaching side, as several other coaches have also left their positions within the set-up. Despite these challenges, Galthie will have a relatively young team to work with and is set to be without his captain for the 2024 Six Nations, as Antoine Dupont focuses on developing his sevens skills ahead of the Paris Olympics.