Kwagga Smith during the 2023 RWC. Image: X/Twitter

Kwagga living rent free in Galthie’s head

France’s coach discusses Rugby World Cup officiating and Kwagga Smith’s role, advocating for clearer rules and respect in the sport.


Kwagga Smith during the 2023 RWC. Image: X/Twitter

In the aftermath of the 2023 Rugby World Cup, France’s head coach, Fabien Galthie, has sparked a conversation that extends beyond the boundaries of the pitch. The quarter-final clash between France and South Africa, which saw the Springboks narrowly clinch a 29-28 victory, remains a topic of intense scrutiny, not just for the on-field heroics but for the officiating led by referee Ben O’Keeffe and the conduct of players, notably Springbok forward Kwagga Smith.

Rugby World Cup Drama: Officiating Under the Microscope

Galthie’s reflections, shared with French sports publication Midi Olympique, delve into the complexities of the game, acknowledging the multifaceted reasons behind Les Bleus’ exit from the tournament.

However, it’s his candid discussion on the officiating that has caught the rugby world’s attention. “We lost the quarter-final for rugby reasons but also for refereeing decisions,” Galthie stated, emphasizing the dual factors at play.

The France coach’s dialogue with O’Keeffe at a recent World Rugby gathering sheds light on the ongoing debate surrounding fair play and the interpretation of the rules. Galthie’s approach to the conversation was not of direct confrontation but rather a cold, analytical discussion on the impact of refereeing decisions on the game’s outcome.

Kwagga Smith’s Controversial Penalty: A Turning Point

A specific incident involving double world champion Kwagga Smith has been pinpointed by Galthie as a moment of contention. Smith’s actions, which led to a crucial penalty and subsequently three points for the Springboks, have been highlighted as an example of the grey areas within rugby’s current rulebook.

“There is a ball stolen with elbows on the ground by Kwagga Smith, which gives three points to the Springboks, for example,” Galthie remarked, calling for clearer regulations.

The Path Forward: Advocating for Clarity and Fairness

Galthie’s commitment to voicing concerns within World Rugby committees is a testament to his desire for evolution within the sport. By advocating for clearer regulations and a more transparent dialogue between coaches, players, and referees, Galthie aims to enhance the integrity of rugby.

His stance on the importance of respect towards referees and the role of coaches as educators underscores a broader vision for rugby’s future. As the dust settles on the 2023 Rugby World Cup, the discussions ignited by Fabien Galthie’s reflections serve as a catalyst for change.

With a focus on officiating, player conduct, and the continuous improvement of the sport, the rugby community looks ahead to a future where clarity, fairness, and respect define the game.