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Springbok’s reign as world champions in peril as Dupont returns

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Saturday Sep 30, 2023

Antoine Dupont has made an incredible recovery from a fractured cheekbone he received in France’s 96-0 victory over Namibia just two weeks ago.

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The assailant, Johan Deysel, has been hit with what many consider to be a particularly harsh ban of five matches, which will for him, mean a World Cup over.

For Dupont, however, his return will be grand as prepares for action against what is expected to be the Springboks in the quarterfinal.

“Antoine has been given the go-ahead to resume physical activity taking it step by step,” read a statement from the French federation.

“This activity will take place under the supervision of the French national team’s medical staff.”

The Springboks have been many people’s favourites to retain the trophy for the second tournament running, but after defeat by an Ireland side with a mis-firing lineout, even the most confident of Springbok supporters have had their faith tested.

Their hopes have been reinforced slightly by the return of Handre Pollard, with the veteran fly half shouldering a wealth of experience, as well as possessing a more consistent boot than existing fly half, Manie Libbok.

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Pollard will need to use all of his rugby intelligence if he is to steer South Africa to victory in two weeks time.

France’s very own playmaker Antoine Dupont is arguably the most influential player in the their international make up, so with his presence arriving back in the side it could prove troublesome for the reigning champions.

At just 26-years-old, the France captain has already been compared to the greats of the game, putting him in the conversation with the likes of Dan Carter, Richie Mccaw, and Jonah Lomu among many others.

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If South Africa are to instil their rough, defensive, and brutish style of rugby, then they need to eliminate the possibilities of any enigma that can break them.

France are filled to the brim with attacking talent that play their best rugby when they are on the front foot. They are also probably the only team in world rugby right now that can look just as dangerous with their backs against the wall.

This is why the Springboks need to close off the players that could ignite the spark hot enough to burn holes in their defence.

Dupont will not shy away from challenges despite a half broken face. He will, however, be prime for re-injury should the Springboks opt to venture down that route. Even for the greatest of players, confidence can be knocked hard with one big early hit.

If France are to win their first ever World Cup, they will need the mercurial scrum half to be heavily involved and at the top of his game – but Dupont will need the support of his back rowers, in particular, if he is to remain safe on the field.

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