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'Grow up': France coach still crying salty tears over RWC exit, makes 'disgusting' claim about Kiwi ref

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21st March, 2024
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French coach Fabien Galthie is still filthy at Kiwi referee Ben O’Keeffe for the hosts’ World Cup loss to the Springboks, and now claims BOK was also unhappy with his performance in the dramatic quarterfinal.

O’Keeffe was the subject of French ire in the wake of the Springboks’ 29-28 win and within days a World Rugby report was leaked to French media claiming five major errors were found in O’Keeffe’s handling of the match – although only three benefitted the Boks.

The French captain Antoine Dupont also claimed the Kiwi ref was not up to the challenge of the quarter-final.

The game included a controversial and successful charge down from Cheslin Kolbe of Thomas Ramos’ conversion attempt.

Midi Olympique reported a World Rugby analysis of referee O’Keeffe’s performance showed Kolbe left the tryline too early, and the conversion should have been re-taken.

The other decisions included a a dangerous clean-out by Pieter-Steph du Toit in the 17th minute – for which World Rugby say the Bok flanker should have been yellow carded – and Kwagga Smith’s halfway-line turnover in the second half, which Handre Pollard converted for South Africa’s winning points.

It was that decisive Smith turn over that Galthie just can’t let go of.

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Speaking at a Six Nations debrief this week, äfter France were a major disappointment, Galthie said his players had been “strongly impacted by questionable decisions.”

France Head Coach Fabien Galthie looks on prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between Scotland and France at BT Murrayfield Stadium on February 10, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

France Head Coach Fabien Galthie looks on prior to the Guinness Six Nations 2024 match between Scotland and France at BT Murrayfield Stadium on February 10, 2024 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

 

He said he has spoken with O’Keeffe since the quarter-final, and that the Kiwi admitted he was unhappy with how he had refereed the game.

“We lost the quarter-final for rugby reasons but also for refereeing decisions,” said Galthie.

“We spoke about it with Ben O’Keeffe during a recent meeting at World Rugby, in a World Rugby committee, I therefore had the opportunity to speak with Ben O’Keeffe. At one point in the meeting there was a discussion about the behavior of the selectors.

“I took the floor and said that we had a major role as educators and that we must behave with respect towards the referees. This is fundamental.

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“I told him that my players had been strongly impacted by questionable decisions. Everyone agreed on the fact that some decisions weren’t the right ones. He wasn’t at all happy with his performance either.”

It’s hard to see Galthie’s comments as anything other than proof he is a sore loser – especially after a poor Six Nations campaign – and South Africa’s rugby community gave him a lashing.

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