April 14, 2024

Antoine Dupont, a thunderbolt in the making?

It’s a foregone conclusion: Antoine Dupont will be on the pitch at the Stade de France on Sunday to lead the French national team against South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals. And this just three weeks after his facial injury against Namibia and the subsequent operation. Enough for some to fear the worst. All the more so as the Springboks may want to target the Toulouse s…

It’s a foregone conclusion: Antoine Dupont will be on the pitch at the Stade de France on Sunday to lead the French national team against South Africa in the World Cup quarter-finals. And this just three weeks after his facial injury against Namibia and the subsequent operation. Enough for some to fear the worst. All the more so as the Springboks may want to target the Toulouse scrum-half, who is expected to play with a helmet.

Antoine Dupont’s team-mates are nonetheless serene, as much about the state of fitness of their captain, who has not played for three weeks, as they are about the Sudafs’ attitude on Sunday in Saint-Denis. Concerning Antoine, he saw the surgeon who gave him the green light. He’s an intelligent, sensible person. If he says he can play, it’s because he’s fully fit, Gregory Aldritt told a press conference on Wednesday, adding for the Springboks: Already, he’s had an injury to the tĂȘte. And in rugby, if you touch your head, it’s a straight red card. The South Africans won’t do just anything.

And it’s a similar story with the South Africans. They’re not going to play like that. That would be stupid, explained Heyneke Meyer, the former South African coach (2012-2015) in an interview with Midi Olympique. The Springboks know that a yellow card can be very costly, and that Thomas Ramos is by far the top scorer at the World Cup (…) These two teams like to put their opponents under intense, constant pressure. The decisive factor in this quarter-final will therefore be discipline, i.e. the ability of each team to react to pressure. In this respect, the probable return of French leader Antoine Dupont is a major factor for Les Bleus. He’ll be able to reassure his team-mates considerably, when the going gets tough.