The Essential: Laurent Labit reflects on France’s World Cup elimination
Responsible for the attack of the French XV during the 2023 World Cup in France, Laurent Labit, now director of rugby at Stade Français, shared his thoughts on the painful quarter-final elimination against the Springboks.
Arbitration Decisions Under Scrutiny
Laurent Labit wasted no time in criticizing the arbitration decisions. “We are the ones who lost this match,” said the Revel native in his new role as director of rugby at Stade Français. He reflected on the World Cup disappointment and the French team’s elimination in the quarter-finals against South Africa.
Reviewing the Match
“It was brutal, difficult. The disappointment is still present, the digestion will be long…” Labit admitted in an interview with AFP. He confessed to reviewing the footage of the match against the Springboks and expressed his disappointment with the team’s performance. “We gave too many easy points to South Africa. In a match of this level, in the quarter-final of the World Cup, against the world champions, we made several mistakes that cost us dearly. It’s something you shouldn’t do, especially against this kind of opponent.”
The Impact of Elimination
Labit then described how the premature elimination affected the team, as many had high hopes for Antoine Dupont and his teammates to win their first world title. “In four years, we had achieved everything we set out to do. The initial objective was to bring people together, to unite, to share. The enthusiasm surrounding this World Cup was incredible. Everywhere we went, it felt like the Rolling Stones were playing. It was extraordinary.”
Regrets and Lessons Learned
Labit continued, “Then, we wanted to win. We had an 80% win rate in our matches over four years at the international level. We had everything planned: the World Cup preparation, the logistics, the time spent with family, the rest periods… Everything was meticulously organized. However, perhaps we had too much confidence? Maybe we were too eager? Maybe we wanted to progress too quickly. This match leaves us with a lot of regrets.”
Labit’s first match as director of rugby at Stade Français will be on Saturday, November 4, at home in the Top 14. Interestingly, the Parisians will be hosting Castres Olympique, the team where Labit both played (1987-1996) and coached (2009-2013).