March 8, 2020 / 8:32 PM / a month ago

Rugby - Beaten France are still learning, say coach Galthie

EDINBURGH (Reuters) - France head coach Fabien Galthie insisted his young squad were still on a learning curve after Les Bleus’s Grand Slam hopes in the Six Nations ended in a 28-17 defeat away to Scotland after the visitors were reduced to 14 men on Sunday.

Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v France - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - March 8, 2020 France head coach Fabien Galthie inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

Prop Mohamed Haouas got a red card in the 33rd minute for punching Jamie Ritchie in the face amid a wider melee, after France had Francois Cros sin-binned for 10 minutes early on.

“We are still young, maybe over time we will learn how to manage these situations,” Galthie told reporters. “We were trapped, we are young, we are still in the build-up phase.”

Centre Arthur Vincent, however, was not looking for excuses.

“We will keep our heads high but there’s no excuses,” he told reporters. “We’re going to use this defeat to improve.”

Galthie assembled a squad featuring players under 30 with one exception and they have been sparkling in wins over England and Wales. But things went from bad to worse at Murrayfield.

Hooker Camille Chat picked up a calf injury during the warm-up and flyhalf Romain Ntamack, who had been instrumental to the French game, suffered a concussion early in the game.

His replacement Mathieu Jalibert failed to live up to expectations and scrumhalf Antoine Dupont was a shadow of his brilliant self throughout the match.

Dupont, who picked up an elbow injury, has already been ruled out of the final game against Ireland at the Stade de France next Saturday, along with Chat, and Ntamack’s participation is also in doubt.

“We are waiting for more info to see if he will be able to play,” said general manager Raphael Ibanez.

Captain Charles Ollivon said France should learn from the setback.

“We will need to keep this moment in mind,” he said.

“Since the beginning we said we would stick together no matter what. We are going to work.

“I don’t believe in luck, good or bad. Let’s focus on the future.”

Writing by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ken Ferris

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