Galthié: Solidarity shown by France players made the difference

Screen Shot 2020-02-02 at 20.45.44
Fabien Galthié hailed the solidarity shown by France in the face of England’s late fightback after Les Bleus opened their 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign with a win.

Fabien Galthié hailed the solidarity shown by France in the face of England’s late fightback after Les Bleus opened their 2020 Guinness Six Nations campaign with a win.

Despite fielding a new-look side with an average of just ten caps apiece, the hosts commanded the first half as they raced into a 17-0 lead with a little over 20 minutes played.

A second try from skipper Charles Ollivon after the restart increased the advantage to 24 before England surged back into the contest with two solo scores from Jonny May to give the visitors hope.

But despite the pressure exerted by the World Cup finalists in the final quarter, France only coughed up three more points as Galthié praised the togetherness of his young team.

“What made the difference and helped the team win the game by seven points was essentially the players and the solidarity when England came back in the second half,” he said.

“The work we’ve been conducting for the last two months, the staff has been working a lot together with the federation and the clubs as they have helped with the preparation.

“Our team was well positioned, well organised, we fought back every time and won the power struggle and scoring three tries against the English under the rain is something.

“I think we had a good attack and we showed our know-how. We tried to share together, the team, the staff, the squad, everybody shared in the preparation.

“We all invested a lot in this match and this match and the victory is thanks to a big commitment from all of us, for the last two months we’ve been working hard with all of the technical staff.

“It’s a sum of details that led us to the victory, shared again by the staff, the squad, the federation, the clubs and we had a positive frame of mind, we were not affraid to make mistakes.”

Back-rower Ollivon was making only his second Championship appearance as he led out Les Bleus for the first time in the Galthié era, taking over from Guilhem Guirado after his retirement.

And while the new skipper was delighted to cross the whitewash twice in the victory, he insisted the experience he shared with his teammates was much more important to him.

“We’re very happy because first of all because we won and second because we won the battle against the England team thanks to the solidarity the French players have shown,” he said.

“It was a tough match and I believe the French players need a connection to win this kind of match, that’s my personal belief, and I think we are creating that kind of connection.

“We already had it but we are creating it and we had some fun. We were able to deliver our game with all the work that went behind it and we’re very happy to win in such a stadium.

“I will certainly remember [the two tries] but what matters more is the good moments that we shared with the rest of the team. Yes I scored two tries but I won’t dwell on that for too long.

“What I think is more important is the experience that is shared by the whole team, what the whole team lives together. There will be weekends when I won’t be scoring tries.

“There will be times when I won’t be scoring any tries but we have to have fun because that makes time go really fast and we will remember this, what we have done on the pitch, what we have shared.”