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Antoine Dupont ‘100 percent’ for France’s World Cup quarter-final with Springboks

France scrumhalf and captain Antoine Dupont

FILE - France scrumhalf and captain Antoine Dupont. Photo: Mohammed Badra/EPA

Published Oct 12, 2023


France's talismanic captain Antoine Dupont is "100 percent" ready to face defending champions South Africa in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final, scrum coach William Servat said.

Servat was speaking after 26-year-old Dupont trained for the second day wearing a headguard.

The scrum-half was given the green light to return to full contact training earlier this week after undergoing surgery on a fractured cheekbone.

He suffered the injury during the pool match against Namibia on September 21.

Due to Dupont's injury the Springboks could target him defensively but Servat poured cold water on the idea of changing the half-back's role in that part of the game.

"For a number of years now, Antoine has been one of France's best players in defence," Servat said on Wednesday.

"Antoine is at 100 percent of his capacities.

"There's no reason to shake things up, whatever happens," he added.

Dupont's teammate Gregory Aldritt said the 2021 World Player of the Year is not the type to pretend he has recovered so that he can play.

"Antoine is someone who is intelligent, sensible," said Alldritt.

"If he says he can play again, it means that he's fully able to do so," he added.

Dupont spent a few days at home following surgery before returning to France's set-up last week to participate in some running and bike exercises.

"He's doing well," said Servat. "He's always been involved, even during his rest period.

"Now he's even more involved. He's back with us, he is taking part in a very active way," the former France hooker added.

Dupont's importance to France is underlined by the fact he is yet to lose on home soil as skipper and often acts as a ninth forward on the field.

He has scored two tries and provided 12 assists since taking over the captain's armband from flanker Charles Ollivon in November 2021.

During Wednesday's session he trained alongside the presumed starters for the match.

France name their team on Friday.