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'I'm going to be very honest': France's performance director shares concerns over Antoine Dupont

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images)

France’s director of performance Thibault Giroud has shared his personal concerns for 2021 World Player of the Year Antoine Dupont following France’s growing injury toll.

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Giroud, who is set to join Top 14 club Bordeaux following the showpiece World Cup event later this year, opened up in an interview with French publication Midi Olympique with  honesty over France’s star player who he believed has been pushed to his limits.

Dupont’s suspension for a dangerous aerial collision with Springboks wing Cheslin Kolbe forced the scrum-half to miss the November test with Japan which Giroud called ‘a blessing in disguise’.

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The absence of the Toulouse No 9 gave the national side to see how they would fare without him, a scenario that they may have to deal with should the worst happen during their World Cup campaign, whilst giving him a much needed break.

“His suspension for the match against Japan was a blessing in disguise, because the French team had to do without him,” he told Midi Olympique.

“It’s good to have several scenarios in order to test them all.”

The enforced break allowed Dupont to get extra rest on a body that has been asked to play an exorbitant amount of minutes for France at international level and in the Top 14 and European Cup with Toulouse.

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Giroud admitted that the star could not maintain his current path and was very grateful that the World Cup was so close, otherwise he thought Dupont would break down with the load being put on him.

“I’m going to be very honest with you: if the World Cup was in two years, I would tell you that I would be very worried about Antoine,” he said.

“Managing to maintain this level of intensity… Its good that the World Cup is in eight months.

“Mentally and physically, playing 2000 minutes a year at his level, you can’t replicate that for ten years.”

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France will look to back up their Grand Slam and their 2021 unbeaten Test season in a few weeks when they start their Six Nations campaign against Italy, but a growing injury toll threatens to derail it.

La Rochelle’s inside centre Jonathan Danty could miss the entire Six Nations, requiring surgery for a ruptured PCL. He has opted not to go under the knife leaving a chance he could feature late in the campaign.

Danty, who became a focal point for France in 2022, joins other stars Uini Atonio, Gabin Villiere, Mattheiu Jalibert, Arthur Vincent and François Cros on the sidelines.

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