March 1, 2024

Boks warned about trying to target Dupont

ROLAND GARROS, PARIS – Grégory Alldritt, the big French number eight has cautioned the Springboks about the danger of trying to target French captain Antoine Dupont which could lead to a red card.

The mercurial scrumhalf sustained a fractured cheekbone and eye socket in a Pool gamed against Namibia but was declared fit for the crucial World Cup quarterfinal clash against South Africa at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis (kick-off 21:00) on Sunday evening.

The 26-year-old Alldritt who has represented his country in 44 test matches was asked at a press conference at Roland Garros on Wednesday about the responsibility of protecting Dupont.

Antoine Dupont Photo (F. Faugère/The Team)

“We know that in rugby, if you touch the head, it’s a red card. He (Dupont) saw his surgeon who gave him the green light. Antoine is an intelligent, sensible person. If he says he can play again, it’s because he’s fully fit, said Alldritt.”

The 115kg eighthman is expecting South Africa’s formidable backrow to come with a massive physical challenge, especially at the breakdowns.

“I think there loose forwards are a reflection of the team with a backrow that gives a lot in defence and attack for 80 minutes. It’s a great challenge. It’s going to be a great battle. We’re looking forward to it,” he said.

“We have players who also hit hard. We forget that at times. We’re lucky to have players like Damian (Penaud) and(Antoine (Dupont). We also have players like Jo (Jonathan Danty), Uini (Atonio), Peato (Mauvaka), Cyril (Baille), Tao (Romain Taofifenua) … I think we have the weapons to respond. We have to do even better and even more than usual against South Africa, but I’m not worried.”

“We’re making progress match by match. So are they. We know how they’re going to play. Their DNA, their rugby, is based on physicality. It’s up to us to put in more intensity than usual for 80 minutes. As we saw in Marseille (in November 2022), they’re a team that stays in the game for 80 minutes. We’ve been warned.”

Besides matching the Springboks in physicality, Alldritt believes discipline is going to be key.

“In top-level matches, the less time you give your opponents, the better. If we can avoid giving away penalties, it’ll be very interesting. We’ll be concentrating hard on that. At this level, you have to be clean.”

“We’re continuing to work as we have been. We’re trying to study every aspect of this match; we’re not leaving anything to chance. We’ve worked hard on this for four years.

“We’ve played some big games, both with our clubs and with the French national team. The opening match was complicated, but we were ahead by half-time. I hope it’ll be the same this weekend.

“We’re coming down the home straight. We want to enjoy ourselves, have a lot of fun and finish this competition with no regrets,” he added.

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