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Springboks knows France star Antoine Dupont will hit the ground running, says Rassie Erasmus

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All of France think Antoine Dupont walks on water, and SA director of rugby Rassie Erasmus is not one to argue the virtues of the 2021 World Rugby Player of the Year.

The French captain has defied medical science to come back from a fractured cheekbone to rejoin his team, and is likely to lead them in Sunday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against the Springboks in Paris.

AFP reported yesterday that Dupont’s prospects of playing were boosted when the scrumhalf trained for the second day wearing a headguard.

“Antoine is someone who is intelligent, sensible,” France No 8 Gregory Alldritt told reporters yesterday.

“If he says he can play again, it means that he’s fully able to do so.”

Erasmus said this week that Dupont is such a good player that he will hit the ground running.

“I think a lack of fitness won’t be a problem with him. I have never seen him sweat on the field. He is so emotionless when he plays,” Erasmus said.

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“He always looks so in control, especially in his role as the captain.

“The whole country of France, the whole world has respect for him. I broke my jaw three times, and you can get leaner because you can’t eat too well.

“Soon you can run, so he won’t be unfit. He is definitely unafraid to tackle, while his kicking and passing is so good.

“His surgeon has passed him to play, and he is the kind of player where that means he will do his tackles as if he hasn’t been out for three weeks.

“I have no doubt he will play, and it will be a big challenge for us to try and contain him.”

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Dupont is hardly the only French back the Boks will have to watch like a hawk. They have lethal attackers all over the park, while they are just as solid on defence.

“One of the toughest challenges in rugby is breaking down France’s defence,” Erasmus said.

“Wherever (defence coach) Shaun Edwards goes, he gets a passion in the team for defence.

“I have been in World Rugby meetings where we break into little groups, and he’s a very interesting character in the way he looks at the game.

“He and (Ireland coach) Andy Farrell come from a rugby league background, and bring that league grunt and big collisions into the game.

“This game will be one of the biggest challenges we have had as a coaching team but if you want to do something great, it is almost always in less than ideal circumstances.

“We are up against it, not just on the defence, but also the home crowd, plus the improvement France has shown in the last four years under Fabien Galthie and Edwards.”

@MikeGreenaway67

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