May 26, 2022

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Six Nations destiny in our hands, says France skipper Dupont

Six Nations destiny in our hands, says France skipper Dupont

France captain Antoine Dupont insists his unbeaten team are the masters of their own Six Nations destiny when they take on Wales in Cardiff on Friday.

France head into the fixture at the Principality Stadium on the back of three victories from three, compared to Wales’ one.

Should the French win in Cardiff, it would set them up for a first tilt at a Grand Slam since 2010 when they play England at the Stade de France on March 19.

But the Welsh have won four of the last five home games against les Bleus, although history, according to Dupont, counted for nothing.

“Every championship is different,” the Toulouse scrum-half argued Thursday. “In two years, our team has changed a lot, and theirs as well.

“Last year we lost our third game to England and two years ago it was our fourth.

“We’re not worried by that. We’ve made a good start to this championship, we’re masters of our destiny.

“We’ll try to win this match to have control of the wheel during our match against the English in Paris.”

Thoughts of a Grand Slam were both motivating and pressure-building, said Dupont, who confirmed he had recovered from a training ground stinger — “nothing worrying for the match”.

“We know that fans are waiting for it. Us the first. It’s two years that we’ve been biting at top spot,” he said.

“Obviously, our goal is to win this huge tournament, which is important for us, for the construction of our squad.”

Thoughts turn first, Dupont said, to the challenge likely posed by Wales.

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“They’re a team that has performed well for going on a decade,” he said.

“They don’t necessarily have a flamboyant style but it’s efficient with few errors, they give little away to opponents.”

Wales, Dupont added, will “exploit the slightest frailty, wrap you up and score points pretty quickly”.

“But we’re focused on ourselves. We’ll play our rugby and try not to give anything away.”

France’s goal was to be “consistent over the 80 minutes and keep our level the highest possible throughout the match”.

France manager Raphael Ibanez also confirmed that the squad had not undergone further Covid-19 testing despite two players being left at home following positive tests.

Star winger Damian Penaud and lock Romain Taofifenua both missed the trip to Cardiff after testing positive for coronavirus.

“We’re following the recommendations of the Six Nations Committee and their protocol and up until now no new tests have been conducted,” Ibanez said.