Eddie Jones to oppose Fabien Galthie in Barbarians game
After winning France’s first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2010, head coach Fabien Galthie is set to lead the Barbarians against England this summer and could potentially put more pressure on Eddie Jones.
Galthie’s coaching staff for the game has yet to be officially confirmed but could also include a return to Twickenham for Shaun Edwards, the defense coach who has made a huge impact with France since joining the coaching staff after leaving his post with Wales.
William Servat, the France forwards coach, described the opportunity to coach the Barbarians as ‘an honour’ during a speech on French radio, confirming his participation in the match to be held on June 19, the day after of the Gallagher Premiership final.
The record between Galthie and Jones is currently shared at two wins apiece, with Galthie yet to win with France at Twickenham while England have lost both of their games in Paris under Jones since the 2019 Rugby World Cup. Last Saturday’s 12-point win for France was the biggest winning margin in meetings between the Galthie and Jones sides so far.
Galthie inflicting another defeat on Jones on the eve of the Australian tour would only add to England’s problems after three defeats in the Six Nations. Having traditionally used the game in the past as a chance to experiment and give fringe players or new talent a first outing at Twickenham in an England shirt, Jones could theoretically choose to choose a stronger squad in order to increase your prospects.
The Barbarians last met England in 2019, when Alex Dombrandt and Marcus Smith, now England regulars under Jones, were part of a side that defeated the Baa-Baas 51-43. Joe Marler, then retired from Test rugby, played for the Barbarians.
The French Revolution in Galthie was seismic and, terrifyingly, the best is yet to come
Last Saturday’s victory over England, as well as ending a Six Nations title drought that had lasted far too long for a rugby nation the size and talent of France, was also the 25th test of Galthie in charge of France.
Since taking over after the last Rugby World Cup – having been at that tournament as a consultant to then head coach Jacques Brunel, while immersing himself as much as he could in view of the next four years – Galthie has now won 19 of his games in charge and lost six. This gives him a winning percentage of 76% since taking over as France coach, which is remarkable for several reasons. First, it ranks him higher than any other French coach dating back to the 1960s. Pierre Berbizier and Jean-Claude Skrela offer the closest competition to their respective head coaching tenures in the 1990s, as does coach Jean Prat. -leader from 1964 to 1968, but their winning returns all hover around the 65% mark.
The interesting point about Galthie’s winning percentage comes when you compare him to his recent predecessors. Bernard Laporte – the president of the French Rugby Federation who, don’t forget, appointed Galthie, his former scrum-half, as France head coach – scored 63% but in 98 tests.