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Why Antoine Dupont is 'not worried' for All Blacks ahead of Rugby World Cup

By Ben Smith
Antoine Dupont of France during the Autumn Nations Series rugby match between France (blue jersey) and New Zealand (All Blacks, white jersey) at Stade de France on November 20, 2021 in Saint-Denis near Paris, France. (Photo by John Berry/Getty Images)

Despite suffering a 35-7 defeat to South Africa on the eve of the World Cup, France star Antoine Dupont is “not worried” for the All Blacks ahead of the opening clash.


France’s scrumhalf, crowned the world’s best player in 2021, has labelled the opener a “must win” for France as they look to win the first Rugby World Cup in the nation’s history.

Dupont said the All Blacks undefeated streak before the loss to South Africa was still valid and they will bring plenty of experience with former World Cup winners in the squad.

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“This match is obviously extremely important, to get us started in the competition and to ensure that people follow our team and want to support them throughout the World Cup,” Dupont told AFP.

“You obviously have to win a home opener.

“They may have lost this match [against South Africa], but they had won 11 in a row just before, so I’m not worried for them.

“They know this competition, they’ve won it the most times, and they’re always there when it counts, with plenty of quality and experience.”

As the host nation, expectations have arguably never been higher for France after a highly successful four years since their quarter-final defeat to Wales in Japan.


The strength of domestic clubs Toulouse and La Rochelle, both European champions since the last World Cup, have powered France to a Six Nations Grand Slam in 2022 and a 14-game winning streak.


This year’s Six Nations winners Ireland were the side to end France’s winning run in February.

Dupont believes the nation has never been in a better position to deliver the ultimate trophy after three previous final appearances.

“We’ve never been so well prepared,” said Dupont.

“We have won 80 percent of our matches, the Six Nations in 2022. We have a promising generation of talented players who have gained experience and continuity in the backbone of the team.


“That hasn’t been the case over the last 10 years.

“So, all systems are go. What’s more, we’re lucky enough to be hosting the competition, so we’re hoping for public support.

“In spite of that, it’s still sport and the matches have to be played and won.”


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