Fabian Galthie is probably the only national coach who can get away with wearing white trainers with a suit.
His coolness turned many a head when he took over as France coach at last years Six Nations tournament.
One of the main talking points ever since has been his glasses. When we met at the 2019 launch I assumed he had just been doing a spot of welding, but I should have known better.
Those spectacles were a topic of conversation among supporters, journalists and players. At press briefings and post-match interviews, those bulky dark frames stood out whilst resting upon that noble French proboscis.
Those who know me realise all too well that I am no male fashion icon so in a vain attempt to appear trendy I asked the man from Cahors all about them.
“These are plastic sports glasses that allow you to run, and to fall because I broke all my glasses before,” he explained, needing glasses once he reached his forties. “My eyesight deteriorated around 46-47 years old. I had to put on stronger glasses, but above all I had to stop breaking them”
They are in fact a model frequently worn by basketball players, and not welders.
The former scrum-half, who does not save himself during training for the Blues, often putting words into action, found his sturdy specs “with an optician friend in Toulon”, where he coached the RCT in 2017-2018. “They do not move, I can play squash, golf, I can run with the ball in training”, as for the futuristic look provided by the frames, everything is a matter of taste, my mum doesn’t like it and my kids don’t say anything, they’re nice to their daddy. “
Fabien Galthié offered to lend Antoine Dupont his famous glasses after the France scrum-half kicked the ball out of play a minute early in last seasons Guinness Six Nations 24-17 victory against England.
With France camped on their own line, Dupont dug the ball out of the ruck and kicked it dead in-goal, thinking that time was up on the clock.
Unfortunately for him, the match clock had just ticked past 79 minutes rather than 80, and he gave England a five-metre scrum.
That proved crucial as England secured a losing bonus point from their defeat, and while there was a little frustration for Dupont, he took it in good humour.
It was probably the only error the Toulouse number 9 made throughout the entire tournament
Galthie has always done things in his own way, in November 2919, he chose to hold his first official press conference as France head coach in Montgesty, a village of 335 people of which his father is mayor. Galthie grew up in the village in the south-west of France and it was there “I discovered the sport that changed my life”.
On the opening weekend of this years Six Nations France and their coach oozed style on the pitch as well as on it.
Under the Roman blue skies Les Bleus, France demolished Italy 50-10.
Fabian could have been forgiven for swapping his current frames for rose tinted spectacles, but he was not getting carried away with the big win.
We have the feeling of having prepared well. It’s always special to prepare for a match under these conditions.
“We will continue to play for those who cannot do it at the moment, the children… Thanks to all these supporters, we are trying to do beautiful things and bring them joy.
“We scored seven tries, we were efficient. Now we’re going to have a good week to prepare for the game against Ireland. It’s good that we were able to bring on all of our finishers.
“It was our 10th game together as a group, an important game for us away from home. We have a good dynamic and we continue to build it it. Now we’re going to Marcoussis and it’s a good transition for Dublin.”
Even with those fabulous spectacles Fabien Galthie refuses to look too far ahead and it’s a case of one game at a time for Les Bleus, but with England losing to Scotland maybe his vision of coaching France to a championship title is coming into focus.