He praised head coach Fabien Galthie and his assistant Shaun Edwards for reestablishing French flair and formidable defense.
Serge Betsen believes without ego Shaun Edwards and “intelligent tactician” Fabien Galthie can drive France to break their World Cup duck in 2023.
Former France and Wasps flanker Betsen paid tribute to head coach Galthie and his assistant Edwards for restoring the characteristic facets of the Blues: unpredictable attack and formidable defense.
The new French generation of talented and committed stars, led by half-backs Antoine Dupont and Roman Ntamack, forced a second place in the Six Nations thanks to a fine 35-27 victory over Ireland in Paris on October 31.
Galthie’s men will now kick off their fall Nations Cup campaign by hosting Fiji in Vannes on Saturday, ahead of further clashes with Scotland and Italy.
Betsen and France lost successive World Cup semi-finals to England in 2003 and 2007, while Les Bleus lost in the final in 1987, 1999 and 2011.
France will host the 2023 World Cup amid a growing resurgence, with Betsen backing his former Wasps coach and former Wales defense specialist Edwards to support a major challenge for the title.
When asked if France are now in a good position to win the next World Cup, Betsen told the PA news agency: “Of course, of course, I really believe there is room. for this French team to win it.
“The tournament will be a great opportunity to showcase France and French rugby.
“And I remember being there in 2007, winning against the All Blacks in Cardiff and losing to England in the semi-final; it still hurts today.
“But then we made it to the final in 2011 and lost in the final against the All Blacks.
“France is one of the most successful countries in the World Cup without ever winning it.
“And I really believe we have to break that, we definitely have to start doing something different. And I hope it will be this time. “
France are hoping to build on their return to form in the Six Nations at the inaugural Fall Nations Cup, which will be shown on Amazon Prime Video.
Betsen will be on hand to offer experts on the streaming service, with the former Biarritz back rower singing the praises of France’s new coach Edwards.
Former Wigan star Edwards provided the defensive foundation for Warren GatlandWales came together after a glorious stint with the Wasps.
The 54-year-old claims 50 winner’s medals as a player and coach, but was still looking for a new challenge, joining the French squad in November 2019.
“I really, really love Shaun Edwards,” Betsen said.
“He was my coach at Wasps, he’s phenomenal, his defending mentality is so important.
“When you’re coached by Shaun Edwards, defense starts to become your offense. And that mindset is so important. I am delighted that he is part of the staff.
“He doesn’t really have an ego. He takes pride in himself and in what he expects from the players.
“But he’s someone who can really say ‘sorry, it’s my fault, and I’m going to fix that,’ and then he’ll have taken that on the chin already, all the mistakes.
“This also makes his management very positive.
“He doesn’t have to talk too much. He needs a little time to show you what he wants from you, two or three key points of what he wants from you. And then you have to run it.
“He wants players to engage with his post, he’s definitely a good guy, and he’s not here to talk; he’s there to be efficient at everything he wants to do, or he wants the players to do.
“I was impressed by his departure for France. I was talking to him about the language, about how he could get by. And fair play is not easy to change country, culture and adapt as quickly as it has.
“It’s definitely something important as a person, and it has shown that he can be adaptable. “
Betsen played under the French captain of Galthie, admitting that the new Blues boss has always shown his coaching potential even in his scrimmage half-days.
“Fabien has played four World Cups and he has always been a leader, he was always looking for detail and to be the most efficient,” said Betsen.
“He’s always been a very, very smart tactician, that’s always been a big characteristic of his.
“As a scrum half, tactician, I think his desire is definitely to work hard, to be understood, and to give the players a lot of conditions and a lot of assets to play the best rugby they can play.
“Fabien Galthie was part of my generation, and Raphael Ibanez was also captain for France.
“They all know the recipe for what it takes to be a great team, and I’m confident they’ll put it in place step by step to move this new generation forward. ”
:: The Fall Nations Cup Rugby Union arrives on Amazon Prime Video, exclusively showing 13 of the 16 games on November 14, including the tournament final