Springboks out to stop ‘big impact’ of Dupont

by Central News Reporter
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Felix Jones

Springboks assistant coach Felix Jones said on Thursday it was up to the Springboks to limit the impact of France captain Antoine Dupont on the Rugby World Cup quarter-final.

Dupont has been allowed to return to training this week after having surgery on a broken cheekbone and the influential scrum-half is in line to feature in the much-anticipated last-eight tie at the Stade de France in Paris on Sunday.

“He has a big impact on the players around him and gives them belief,” Jones told reporters.

“We can’t control the presence he brings, we can only control trying to stop the many talents and abilities he has,” the Irishman added.

Dupont’s importance to France is underlined by the fact he is yet to lose on home soil as skipper.

The 26-year-old, who was named World Rugby player of the year in 2021, has been instrumental in France’s success since taking over the captain’s armband from flanker Charles Ollivon in November 2021.

“World player of the year, if you have that title you’re a special player,” Springboks’ scrum-half Cobus Reinach said.

“He’s proven it playing for Toulouse and the French team.

“Every game is a highlight reel with a magic moment, a cross kick or a pass or pulling someone back over the tryline,” he added.

One selection headache for Jones and Springboks head coach Jacques Nienaber before the game is at fly-half.

They can choose between a creative but inconsistent goal kicker in Manie Libbok or the conservative Handre Pollard, who was instrumental in South Africa winning the World Cup in 2019.

“It’s very tight in a number of positions and fly-half is very tight,” Jones said.

“Handre’s been there and done it for us from the starting role. Manie’s also been playing some great rugby for us.

“It’s just one of our considerations,” he added.

The Stade de France will be packed on Sunday with a fervent home crowd expecting a French win as they eye a first ever World Cup crown.

“We know it’s going to be sold-out, we know they’re going to be signing, we have to embrace it,” South Africa hooker Bongi Mbonambi said:

“We’ve tried to simulate it in training during the week so in the match it doesn’t shock you.

“It’s to make sure that when Sunday comes it’s not the first time you experience it,” he added.





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