Galthie makes an unexpected return
October 21, 1999
When Fabien Galthie wears the French number nine jersey in the World Cup quarter-final against Argentina in Dublin on Sunday, his appearance will be as unexpected as the identity of France's opponents.
While the French are surprised to find the Pumas as their opponents in the last eight, it is an even bigger shock that Galthie has regained his spot in the French side.
First the French lost Philippe Carbonneau to injury; then Pierre Mignoni fell by the wayside and Stephane Castaignede failed to shine.
Voila! At 30, Galthie - who was not even a member of the original 30-man squad - is back in the French side at scrum-half.
Galthie's return means coach Jean-Claude Skrela had to be pragmatic and swallow his pride. The pair had a bitter bust-up after the veteran of both the 1991 and 1995 World Cups was omitted from the original squad.
The Colomiers player will now earn the 25th cap of his stop-start career against the Pumas.
"It seems I am destined to make intermittent appearances in the team," Galthie joked Thursday.
"What was said in the past between Skrela and myself is passed. The less I say about what happened the better it will be. All I wish to do is get my mind on preparing for the quarter-finals."
Galthie is very much aware of the expectations of a French public that expects its rugby team to be winners - and to always play with flair. Neither has been the case recently.
"When the team loses it is the players who have been beaten. When we win, everyone wants to take the credit," Galthie sighed.
That said, Galthie is revelling in his moment back in the limelight.
"A quarter-final of the World Cup - that's huge," he said.