Antoine Dupont was a key part of France’s fine start to the 2020 Guinness Six Nations – and the scrum-half prepared for Super Saturday with a sparkling display against Wales in this weekend’s autumn warm-up.
Dupont scored two tries and played an integral role in two more as Les Bleus came back from 10-0 down to win 38-21 at the Stade de France to ensure they go into their crunch game against Ireland full of confidence.
The customary French attacking flair was present throughout Saturday’s encounter, with Dupont and half-back partner Romain Ntamack joining forces effectively – just as they had in the first four rounds of this year’s Championship.
The pair laid the foundations for France’s first try as Ntamack, who was Player of the Match when France won in Cardiff in February, burst through a gap before finding Dupont on his shoulder to continue the momentum and take France to within five metres. A quickly taken penalty allowed Cyril Baille to barge over and get the hosts on the scoreboard.
Dupont was then on hand to finish off a flowing move as France went ahead for the first time. Silky hands, including a superb one-handed offload by Virimi Vakatawa, created the space and Dupont was given a clear run to the line by Teddy Thomas’ pass inside.
Just three minutes later, another blistering attack again ended with the scrum-half applying the finishing touch as France took a 21-13 lead into the break.
The second half continued in a similar fashion, with France moving through the gears smoothly and Dupont at the heart of it.
On 65 minutes, the 23-year-old collected a loose ball from his own box-kick and broke through midfield before timing his pass to perfection to set Charles Ollivon free for France’s fourth try.
There was still time for one more moment of magic from the French. Thomas looked to have little room to work in when he collected possession on the right wing but he successfully latched on to his own delicate chip over Dan Biggar to cross the whitewash in style.
But amid an array of fine performances, it was Dupont who stole the show. The stats speak for themselves – his 72 metres gained, four clean breaks and seven defenders beaten were each team-high tallies and he will look to take his form into next weekend’s tantalising contest against Ireland.
The game rounds off Super Saturday, meaning France will know the permutations by the time they kick-off against the current Guinness Six Nations leaders.
Should England beat Italy, France will need to better England’s victory margin by at least two points if they are to lift their first Championship since 2010.
And if Dupont and co match Saturday night’s form, they will certainly give it a good go.
The scrum-half’s performance could also see him prove a popular choice for Guinness Six Nations Fantasy Rugby managers. The competition returns for Super Saturday – select your squad here.