Rugby World Cup 2023 / French XV – Namibia – Antoine Dupont: “Cyril (Baille) had doubts”

Spared against Uruguay last week, scrum half and captain of the XV of France Antoine Dupont will regain his starting place against Namibia on Thursday evening in Marseille. The opportunity to find his partner and friend, Cyril Baille, in the starting XV…

Was it important for you to play this match against Namibia, in particular to refine the automatisms with Matthieu Jalibert?

Beyond the automatisms with Matthieu Jalibert that we already have, quite a few players had been spared after the match against the All Blacks for two weeks. Then there are two weeks before the match against Italy and, we hope, the next deadlines. We always want to put the best team together based on current fitness levels. Many players have been able to recover and are therefore in this lineup to perform the best possible match, especially in form.

Your long-time friend, Cyril Baille, returns after more than a month of absence following his calf injury. How do you feel about his return?

It was a big blow for him when he was injured in the first preparation match. At first it was difficult to assess the seriousness of it and it could therefore potentially deprive him of the entire World Cup. We all know the risks that exist in these kinds of periods. Obviously, Cyril had doubts. But things got better when he learned the nature and duration of his injury. The staff immediately made the decision to keep him in the group, it was important for him, for the group. We know its importance to us.

Did you then feel particularly motivated?

It “reboosted” him to think that he would have the opportunity to return to his best level. He made the efforts to achieve this, working daily to be present in this match against the Namibia. We obviously know his qualities as a player, we no longer mention them. He is very efficient, he presents a different profile from Jean-Baptiste (Gros) or Reda (Wardi), who are very good in their roles. Cyril has a relay role in the attacking game which allows us to set the pace and pick up the balls at level. I hope this will be useful for us. For me who is close to him, I’m very happy to see him come back. and I have no doubt about the efforts he made to be at his best level.

You have played several times at the Stade Vélodrome. What do you keep from it?

I have a little mixed memory of the last match (he had taken a red card against South Africa in November 2022Editor’s note). But we had won, that’s the main thing (smiles).

You made the cover of the magazine Valeurs Actuelles and then shared Jean Dujardin’s publication to demand not to make political recovery. Can you say more?

I think I developed my position by making this gesture (sharing the publication, Editor’s note). I’m not sure this should be the topic of the press conference now.

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