A May sun that hesitates between warming or softening the atmosphere. A breeze that enjoys caressing the crazy grass in the surrounding fields. And in the alleys of this village of the Lot, an impressive silence winding between the stone walls of the buildings surrounding the church and the town hall, two neighbors in the center of this small world perched in the middle of the hills 20 km from Cahors. Welcome to Montgesty, a village of 320 souls where Fabien Galthié, the coach of Les Bleus, grew up. It is there that he gave appointment to a swarm of journalists this Tuesday, May 16, in the premises of the town hall where his father Jean-Noël has been elected since 2008.
This is where he had already invited the press on November 13, 2019, just to launch his mandate. "It's serene here," smiles the coach by way of preamble. "It's a return to the origins, we mark our attachment to the territories," adds the manager of the XV de France Raphaël Ibanez.
All the staff has been at their side since Sunday to finalize the preparation for the World Cup in France (September 8 – October 28). Everything is now recorded. The last questions have been removed. The list of 42 players selected will be unveiled on June 21 and the Blues will begin their preparation in Monaco on July 2, for a first two-week session. The internship in Carpiagne (Bouches-du-Rhône) at the end of June, initially envisaged, has been cancelled. "We thought it would be good, given the players' season, given that the final of the Top 14 takes place on June 17, to give those who have participated two weeks of rest," explains Galthié. Recovery is also a time of training. We pay close attention to everything. »
The Blues will also cut for ten days after Monaco, before meeting in Marcoussis (Essonne). They will then reach Capbreton (Landes) from 7 to 25 August, where they will be accompanied by their loved ones. An innovation. "Everyone will have a bungalow," says the coach. This is consistent with what we have done so far. After each competition, there is an evening with loved ones. Everyone knows each other. Raphaël Ibanez continues: "We want to strengthen the group spirit, the esprit de corps. We want there to be a family France. It must be said that players also play for their loved ones. The staff has been working on the issue. The goal is to maintain the highest possible degree of motivation and involvement. A World Cup lasts nearly four months, including competition and preparation... "These are things we missed when we were in the France team," said William Servat, the assistant coach in charge of the forwards.
On their return, the Tricolores will establish their base camp for the competition in Rueil-Malmaison (Hauts-de-Seine). They will then have played four preparation matches, set at the beginning of Fabien Galthié's mandate: against Scotland, on August 5 in Edinburgh and on August 12 in Saint-Etienne, Fiji on August 19 in Nantes and Australia on August 26 at the Stade de France. The list of 42, which will be reduced to 33 on August 21, will also be able to evolve at each change of venue, from Monaco to Marcoussis and then from Marcoussis to Capbreton. This leaves hope for injured players like Anthony Jelonch (knee) or Melvyn Jaminet (ankle), engaged in a race against the clock. "Anthony's rehabilitation is going very well," says Fabien Galthié. He was at my house last week. He is one of those exceptional players who have an extraordinary ability to recover. Besides, the surgeon does not understand what is happening. »
Everything was going well, in the best of all worlds, this Tuesday under the sun of the Lot where the coach symbolically launched the World Cup. The main objective of his mandate.