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France name Antoine Dupont as stand-in captain

By Paul Smith
Antoine Dupont. (Photo by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

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Antoine Dupont will captain France during next month’s Autumn International Series the French Rugby Federation has announced.

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Dupont stands in for France’s usual captain, back-rower Charles Ollivon, who is expected to be on the sidelines until next year with a serious knee injury.

The 24-year-old Toulouse scrum half, who is considered one of the world’s leading players, has over the last two years produced a string of stand-out performances. As a result he was named as player-of-the-tournament at the conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations.

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An All Black, a France squad and a disappearing act
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An All Black, a France squad and a disappearing act

The no.9 reportedly won the role ahead of domestic team-mate and childhood friend Anthony Jelonch and his Toulouse captain Julien Marchand. Racing 92 centre Gael Fickou and La Rochelle’s No. 8 Gregory Alldritt are also believed to have been considered for the position.

Les Bleus’ new captain has made 32 test appearances since making his international debut as a 20-year-old in 2017.

He has plenty of domestic experience having featured 61 times for Castres before making the short journey to join their Top 14 rivals Toulouse in 2017.

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Another Toulouse player, prop Dorian Aldegheri, has been named to replace La Rochelle’s Uini Atonio in the squad after the giant tight-head withdrew due to injury.

Atonio, 31, suffered a muscle injury and as a result was replaced after an hour of his club’s Top 14 victory over Toulon on Sunday.

The 28-year-old Aldegheri faces stiff competition from Lyon’s experienced Demba Bamba and Castres’ Wilfrid Hounkpatin for a starting berth in the French front row.

Les Bleus host Argentina on November 6, Georgia eight days later and New Zealand on November 20.

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Fabien Galthie’s squad met up at their training base on Sunday and will miss their club games next weekend.

France finished as runners-up in the 2021 Six Nations winning three of their five matches but suffering an unexpected round three 23-27 home defeat at the hands of Scotland which scuppered their title hopes.

 

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France name Antoine Dupont as stand-in captain

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