Fofana backing youthful France for future glory

Wesley Fofana says the generation of talent currently breaking through will help France win trophies.

Wesley Fofana says the generation of talent currently breaking through will help France win trophies.

Veteran centre Fofana played alongside some of the new breed for Les Bleus in the 2019 Guinness Six Nations and in the build-up to last year’s World Cup.

He wasn’t involved in this year’s Championship but watched on as the likes of Antoine Dupont, Romain Ntamack, Grégory Alldritt, Mohamed Haouas and Julien Marchand – all aged 25 or under – helped France to three wins from four, keeping them firmly in the running for a first title since 2010.

And the 32-year-old Fofana believes the combination of young talent and a disciplined new coaching staff – led by Fabien Galthié – can guide the team to glory in the near future.

“This French XV will win titles, I’m sure,” Fofana told Midi Olympique in a wide-ranging interview. “His first Championship [the 2020 Guinness Six Nations] hasn’t been finished but it was great.

“You have to take all the positives that come and build on it. Do as much as you can with the chosen players and change as little as possible, to keep balance and cohesion.

“This is important because there will be tough periods. The pressure on them will increase, there will be injuries, the opponents will also be wary and adapt.

“Their talent is undeniable. Most importantly, it’s not just a few players here and there who come in and bring this talent.

“That’s what I’ve known – when I started, there were only a few in my generation coming through – there were gaps. This time, we see a whole generation that arrives suddenly together.”

Galthié took over from Jacques Brunel as France’s head coach ahead of the 2020 Championship, although he had been working with Les Bleus for about a year beforehand.

And during that time, Fofana liked what he saw from the former Stade Francais, Montpellier and Toulon coach – believing he is the perfect man to steer the new generation.

“Galthié was faithful to what we know about him, he brought his science of rugby,” added Fofana. “He has a flair for the simple things of tactics.

“It leaves freedom but within a strict framework, comprised of very basic things. There are a few basic game principles and you have to stick with them.

“Professional rugby is a world where everything moves very quickly and everyone adapts constantly. To counter it, this France team will need stability.”