Dupont 'not going to change' after being named France captain
SPOTLIGHT: Antoine Dupont said on Tuesday he will remain the same player after being named France captain for next month’s Tests.
The 24-year-old scrumhalf is considered by many as one of the world’s best and will replace the injured Charles Ollivon for games against Argentina on November 6, Georgia eight days later and New Zealand on November 20.
The Toulouse scrumhalf pipped domestic teammate and childhood friend Anthony Jelonch, club captain Julien Marchand as well as Racing 92 centre Gael Fickou and La Rochelle’s No. 8 Gregory Alldritt to the role.
“I think if the staff chose me to be captain it’s because of my way of being and how I am,” he told a press conference at the launch of the end-of-year series.
“I’m not going to change how I work and I can also focus on my game like I’ve done up until now. I don’t think it will have influence on my game.
“The four other players who were candidates I know I can always depend on them,” he added.
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Ollivon, 28, took over the role from hooker Guilhem Guirado after the 2019 Rugby World as Fabien Galthie was appointed head coach.
“He [Ollivon] shared his experience because it’s been two years that he’s been captain of this team,” Dupont said
“We share quite a lot with some other players. It was to see what he feels and his experience and it’s always interesting for me to do that,” he added.
On Monday, Racing 92’s Virimi Vakatawa was ruled out of the matches with RMC Sport reporting the centre suffered a rib fracture in Saturday’s Top 14 loss to Montpellier.
“It’s a shame for him and for the squad,” Dupont said.
“He’s an important player for us, who has been here since the start. We know the quality of the player,” he added.
Vakatawa’s absence could open the door for regular flyhalf Romain Ntamack to start at centre with Matthieu Jalibert in the No. 10 shirt for the game against the Pumas.
Uncapped Tani Vili, inexperienced Yoram Moefana as well as Jonathan Danty are the other options in the squad to partner Fickou in midfield with wing Damian Penaud also able to cover the position.
“We learnt yesterday [Monday] about Virimi’s withdrawal, so it was quite quick,” Dupont said.
“We haven’t been able to look at the changes we could make but I think the staff think about it a lot already and we will have some ideas over the coming days.”