Six Nations

Galthie seeks France consistency with Italy as next step

Fabien Galthie (Getty Images)
Fabien Galthie (Getty Images)

Paris - France head coach Fabien Galthie said he was looking for 'consistency' in the next stage of his youthful side's development as they host Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday.

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Galthie's inexperienced outfit outclassed England in their opener in Paris last weekend but their former scrum-half played down the significance of one impressive result and said he was looking ahead, beyond the Six Nations to the next World Cup.

"The consistency and the vision is something we are building and we have shown the players it did not stop on February 2. What we share with the players will last until 2023 and for this competition goes until March 14," he said on Friday.

"February 2 was just a step. It was an essential and important step," he added.

Even though the Azzurri opening their campaign with a 42-0 loss at reigning Grand Slam champions Wales, Galthie remained modest about France's chances of beating an opponent which has gone 23 games without a win in the competition.

"We have to have a feeling of sincerity in the changing room before and after the match," he said.

"We don't talk about the score, the tries, the points difference or the show. We talk about the feeling and the objective is a sincere satisfaction," he added.

The one change to the starting lineup from the win over the World Cup runners up is Arthur Vincent replacing Virimi Vakatawa. It will be the Montpellier centre's first Test start.

"He has the perfect career path. French youth teams, most notably a part of the world champion generation, captain last year," Galthie said.

"He can slow things down and speed things up so he's a player who adapts well with his midfield partner. We expect a performance at the level he has shown us regularly," he added.

For the visitors interim head coach Franco Smith drew comparisons with the hosts for the Transalpine derby and refused to blame on player for the loss in the Welsh capital last Saturday.

"We are putting a new team together, we're like France, we're starting over and playing maybe in different way. There's a new coach and new ideas so we can't point the finger at individuals," South African Smith told AFP on Friday.

"We had our moments against Wales where we didn't score. The first sign of a team getting better is when they start making use of the opportunities. I'm sure we will have our opportunities on Sunday," he added.

Smith praised France scrum-half Antoine Dupont who stood out at the Stade de France last Sunday and set up Charles Ollivon's second try.

"He is really somebody who we look out for. He's the heartbeat of the attack and he's the heartbeat of the French pack," Smith said.

"We know through the years French team have done well when they have a good nine driving them. Fabien Galthie was in that way," he added.

Smith, who had spells coaching and playing with Italian clubs earlier in his career, remained positive about his side's chances.

"Anything's possible. I'll leave it at that."

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