Fabian Galthie is probably the only national coach who can get away with wearing white trainers and a suit.
His coolness turned many a head when he took over as France coach at the 2019 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. “
Galthie has always done things in his own way, in November 2019, 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”.
Fabian could have been forgiven for swapping his current frames for rose tinted spectacles after beating the All Blacks last November and defeating Italy and Ireland in the opening weekends of this years Guinness Six Nations, but he is not getting carried away.
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, with Murrayfield and Cardiff on the horizon he is making sure his charges keep their focus with as much accuracy as his striking optical attachments
At the moment the vision for the French team is clear, they are raising a few eyebrows with their marvellous style of play, and their sights are firmly set on a first Six Nations title since 2010.