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09th Feb 2021

‘Sexton has been a doubt quite a few times, but he ends up crucifying us’

Patrick McCarry

Antoine Dupont

On French TV, not long after Wales had held off Ireland’s late fight-back, one of world rugby’s form players weighed in.

“We followed this afternoon’s match attentively,” said Toulouse and France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont.

“After the red card we thought the Welsh would walk all over them but the Irish showed their resources, their values. They put an incredible amount of energy in, enough to think that they had the extra man. It shows the wealth this team have.

“It’s true,” Dupont added, “they have had quite a few problems with their leaders, like Sexton, Ryan and O’Mahony but we’ll wait to see the team for next weekend. Sexton has been a doubt for games quite a few times but he ends up being on the team sheet to crucify us when he can. We will prepare seriously all this week.”

On the latest House of Rugby Ireland, [LISTEN from 31:30 below] former Ireland internationals Chris Henry and Fergus McFadden discussed just how good the Frenchman is while James Lowe also spoke about how tough he is to play against.

Antoine Dupont

Dupont ran amok for France in their heavy win over Italy, on the opening Six Nations weekend, and was withdrawn to the bench for the final 20 minutes as Fabien Galthie’s side finished at a canter.

An image of Dupont with his feet up on the back of a seat, on the France bench, led host Eimear Considine to ask if there is a better play in world rugby right now.

“Him and Cheslin Kolbe are the two best, right now,” said Henry. “But, yes, I would hate to play against him. Things just happen around him. He oozes confidence.”

Lowe, who made his third Test appearance for Ireland against the Welsh, will be hoping to get the No.11 jersey for Sunday’s clash with Wales.

Speaking to House of Rugby, last December, after his Autumn Nations Cup outings, the Leinster winger and Ulster outhalf Ian Madigan both waxed lyrical about the attacking tyro.

“Dupont and Cheslin Kolbe,” Madigan remarked, “I’ve been having nightmares about them, these last couple of nights. They’re freakish athletes.”

Lowe commented, “I was talking about when we played France in the Six Nations [finale] and how far back we had to go to actually find clips of Dupont doing things wrong. When he was a Castres, and this was when he was 19 and was just coming back from an ACL [anterior cruciate ligament]. I think that was the last time we found him making mistakes.

“Man, that guy is freakish. He’s so quick around the park and so physical. Makes all the right decisions and puts people into holes. I mean, he’s a 9 that’s going to be around for quite a while and, unfortunately, someone who’ll be in my nightmares as well!”

Dupont will have been focused on a huge amount by the Irish coaches in camp, this week. If he can be successfully boxed in, and if Ireland can cut down the errors from Cardiff, Andy Farrell’s side will back themselves to get back on track.

One suspects, however, there have not been many (or any) extra clips to add to those few that were dug out back when he was a teenager at Castres.


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