Ex-France captain Ibañez to be les Bleus manager after World Cup

FORMER HOOKER AND CAPTAIN Raphaël Ibañez has been appointed manager of France following the 2019 World Cup, he told AFP on Friday.

Ibañez said he had been offered the post of manager by Bernard Laporte, president of the French Rugby Federation, “and I said yes to the job of manager.”

Ibañez in action against Ireland in 2001. Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

It is expected that Fabien Galthié will take over as France head coach following this year’s World Cup, where current boss Jacques Brunel will guide les Bleus.

The presence of former team-mate Ibañezez would likely be of great support to Galthié if he is confirmed as the next France head coach. 

Ibañez and Galthié have worked together as pundits on French television in recent years, having helped les Bleus to Grand Slams on the pitch alongside each other in 1998 and 2002.

Both captained France during their playing days, with Ibañez winning 98 caps and Galthié amassing 64.

Ibañez – who also played for Saracens and Wasps – moved into coaching with Bordeaux in 2012 and brought Champions Cup rugby to the club, but departed at the end of the 2016/17 season.

He has since been working in television and is set for a coaching stint in New Zealand with Heartland Championship side Thames Valley in the coming months, before returning to France to take over as manager.

– © AFP 2019

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