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Dupont breaks silence on France's Six Nations disaster

SPOTLIGHT: Scrumhalf Antoine Dupont’s latest statement is certainly not what France supporters would like to hear following their heavy Six Nations opening defeat to Ireland.

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Regular captain Dupont is missing for the tournament after he opted to join the France’s sevens squad ahead of this year’s Olympic Games in Paris.

In the absence of Dupont, Maxime Lucu took his place with Nolann Le Garrec coming off the bench – a move that has been scrutinised by the French public given the team’s disastrous performance.

Friday’s 17-38 loss was their heaviest defeat to Ireland, while it also left Les Bleus’ title hopes already hanging by a thread ahead of their trip to Scotland next week.

Despite the result, Dupont is hopeful that France will react positively.

“It was hard to see France in such difficulty,” Dupont told Canal+.

“It was a step too much, we threw too many spanners in the works.”

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He added: “I’m not worried for the boys, they’re a squad with character and ambition and I’m sure they’ll bounce back for the next match in Scotland.”

Dupont has become very influential within the France set-up since his Test debut in 2017 and led the side to a disappointing World Cup quarterfinal exit to eventual winners South Africa on home soil last year.

Former World Rugby player of the year Dupont played his final 15-a-side game for more than a month on Saturday before starting his Olympics preparation.

He is set to take part in the Vancouver (February 23-25) and Los Angeles (March 2-3) legs of the World Rugby SVNS circuit over the coming weeks with the men’s sevens event at the Olympics taking place at the end of July.

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“There’s a lot of excitement, a bit of worry too,” Dupont said after Toulouse’s league 46-26 win over Bayonne.

“It’s a really motivating challenge which I will approach in a studious way to learn first up and then quickly perform well,” the 52-time capped international added.

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