Galthie has high hopes for Le Bleus

Stade de France

France (11/8 – tournament outright) have not been crowned Six Nations champions since 2010, but expectations are high that Fabien Galthie’s side can end that drought this time around.

It has been a case of so near yet so far for Les Bleus in the Six Nations over the last two years, as after being pipped on points difference to the title by England in 2020, they narrowly missed out to Wales last year after losing their final fixture to Scotland in Paris.

Those near misses appear to have made France (7/2 – to win Grand Slam) even hungrier to end their 12-year wait for championship glory this time around, and they will certainly head into the tournament in good form, having enjoyed a faultless autumn that included an eye-catching 40-25 victory over New Zealand.

The stars could well be aligning for France, who will play three of their five matches in this year’s Six Nations at home, starting with Italy’s visit to the Stade de France on Sunday (France 1/40, Italy 28/1, Tie 50/1 – Match Winner).

France will certainly expect to beat the traditional wooden-spooners on their own patch, especially as Italy are currently on the longest losing run in Six Nations history, suffering defeat in each of their last 32 fixtures in the competition.

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Confidence should certainly be high within the French camp, although they will be without head coach Galthie for the match after he tested positive for Covid-19, while captain and world player of the year Antoine Dupont has only just returned following a period of isolation.

The absence of Galthie will be a blow, but the man himself is confident his team can cope without him, and he is instead focused on the overall picture of leading his side to Six Nations glory.

“There is a trophy to win,” Galthie told reporters. “We will approach it with more certainty, more confidence. There will be fewer surprises in our squads and how we play.

“Since the beginning, our ambition has been to win matches and competitions we are involved in.

“The first tournament we lost on points difference to England; the second by a small margin to Wales. The objective is always the same. Our objective is to build on the latest step.”

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Author: Paula Allen