Fabien Galthié hopes the young French stars who shone in the Barbarians’ convincing 52-21 victory over England can help keep Les Bleus at the top of world rugby for years to come.
The France head coach named 10 French players in his XV for the game at Twickenham and watched on as his side scored eight tries, with 2022 Guinness Six Nations Grand Slam-winning wing Damian Penaud crossing for a double.
Galthié hopes that those youngsters now have a greater appreciation of their potential after such a dominant win against a vastly more experienced England side.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM BAA BAAS WIN OVER ENGLAND
Speaking about the current state of French rugby, he said: “Yes for the moment it is a very good period but our ambition is to stay, not to go back.
“We have a vision and we want to keep the team as a big team and stay at the top of world rugby.
“To arrive here is very hard. This is a good performance but now we have to continue to develop like today.”
Racing 92’s Nolann Le Garrec was one of several stand-out performers, with the 20-year-old scrum-half registering three assists from the bench.
A former age-group captain, Le Garrec was originally named in France’s squad for the Six Nations Under-20 Summer Series in Italy but could now win his first cap in Japan after being included in Galthié’s 42-man touring party.
For Galthié, the Barbarians fixture was a useful opportunity to assess the credentials of France’s next wave of stars, including the likes of Le Garrec ahead of the summer tour.
“For us and for the young players it was a new experience,” he said.
“For the staff it was a great experience to improve with these young players. Maybe they think they can play in the first team.
“For the young players, with no international experience they want to be on the squad so it’s fantastic for the competition, for the spirit of the team and they learnt a lot during this week, on and off the pitch.”
Galthié spoke in glowing terms about the Barbarians philosophy and believes that the young core of French players will have benefitted hugely from training alongside the likes of former England second-row George Kruis, and ex-Australia lock Will Skelton.
While the latter was sent-off just before half-time, Kruis enjoyed a far happier day as his rugby swansong consisted of a try, three conversions and a man-of-the-match performance.
Praising the role Kruis played in preparation for the game, Galthié said: “To find a good balance is fantastic because we had very inexperienced and young players and big players like George.
“I can see that they look up to him, like a Dad for the players, same as Will but after Will was sent off only one Dad on the pitch.”
Prior to Sunday’s fixture, the squad assembled for a week-long training camp in Monaco and Galthié joked that the players more than enjoyed the social aspect of representing the Barbarians.
“I was a little bit afraid because it was a lot, five nights,” he said.
“But at the end of the match, no muscle injuries, it was a miracle.”