Despite never lifting the Webb Ellis Cup, France have an enviable record at Rugby World Cups.
Three-time finalists, in 1987, 1999 and 2011, Les Bleus’ name is writ large in the competition’s annals but the same cannot be said for the tournament’s equivalent in sevens.
A best finish of fifth at Rugby World Cup Sevens is a disappointing return for such a proud rugby-playing nation, albeit one without a huge history in the shortened format.
But with sevens’ place in the Olympic sport now guaranteed, until 2024 at the very least, the Fédération Française de Rugby (FFR) has decided to bring in one of the best, if not the best, in the business in a bid to up their game.
Ryan believes that ironing out the inconsistency of performance that has dogged France in the past will be one of the keys to unlocking their potential.
“I think if you look back to my time with England, and I was to write a report on the French sevens team, I’d say they had some good players but they were incredibly inconsistent. If you got a couple of scores ahead then generally their heads went down and the game was won. It wasn’t always the case but there was just a real level of inconsistency,” he explained.
“At the same time, we could see in some tournaments, and it happened in Dubai and in the South African legs occasionally, where the French team were on a roll and they started to get confidence and they started to win games. A lot of this is linked to their mental attitude.