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France solely focus on World Cup amid Laporte scandal

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: France head coach Fabien Galthie said on Tuesday that his team has been making the country’s rugby “shine” even though the French federation’s president Bernard Laporte has been handed a two-year suspended prison sentence on corruption charges.


In December, Laporte stepped back from his role without resigning and stood down from his position as vice-chairman of World Rugby after being convicted.

He is appealing his conviction.

Former Les Bleus captain Galthie took over as coach in 2020 and said Laporte had spoken to him.

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“During the difficult period, during the storm, Bernard Laporte asked me to do two things: whatever happens, to continue to chart our course towards the 2023 World Cup, and also to prepare the next cycle until 2027,” Galthie told reporters.


Galthie has led France to second in the world rankings and a first Six Nations title in more than a decade.

He said that over the last three years Les Bleus “have worked for the image of French rugby in the world.”

“When you get to the stadium in front of 80,000, like the Stade de France. When the television viewership is 10 million people. When the increase in playing numbers is 10 percent, there are signs that don’t lie,” Galthie said.

“For the last three years, French rugby has been shining around the world.”


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France will host this year’s Rugby World Cup. When it ends on October 28 lineout coach Karim Ghezal will leave to take over at club Stade Francais.

In turn, former hooker Laurent Sempere, 37, will leave his role at the Parisians to replace Ghezal.

Sempere has helped guide the side from the capital to second in the Top 14 table this season.

“I confirm Laurent Sempere has agreed to join France for the next cycle,” Galthie told reporters.

“The opportunity came as he was free after the World Cup and he’s showing very high-level performances as a lineout coach. The forwards in general, but the lineout in particular,” he added.

Galthie’s side start the defence of the Six Nations by travelling to Italy on February 5 and they open the World Cup against New Zealand at Stade de France on September 8.

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