French misery compounded by Antoine Dupont masterclass for Toulouse

The last thing any France supporter would have wanted to do over the weekend was to venture onto rugby social media, where they would be forced to relive their record loss to Ireland in round one of the Guinness Six Nations.

To make matters much worse for anyone brave enough to go online, their feeds would have been peppered with videos of none other than Antoine Dupont tearing it up in the Top 14.

The former France captain will miss this year’s Championship as he gears towards representing France Sevens at the Paris Olympics this summer, but in his last match for Toulouse on Saturday before teaming up with the sevens team for the Vancouver and Los Angeles legs of the HSBC SVNS Series, he put in a display which showed Fabien Galthie’s side just what they are missing.

The 27-year-old produced some moments of magic in Toulouse’s 46-26 win over Bayonne that would be some of the standout moments of another player’s season.

It is not unreasonable to say that Dupont’s assist for Pierre-Louis Barassi ‘s try in the final play of the game at the Stade Ernest-Wallon could not be replicated by another person on the planet. The break, the pass and then the cross-field kick were all just another indication as to why so many deem Dupont to be one of the greatest players of all time already.

That assist was so good that his silky one-handed flick for Pita Ahki’s try in the first half pales into insignificance in comparison, and that in itself was quite special.

Strangely, this was a match where Dupont scored a try himself, making a sniping break to run in unopposed from 30 metres out, but that was eclipsed by his handiwork elsewhere.

To make his performance even more notable, he was playing at fly-half instead of playing at his more familiar scrum-half.

France were always expected to struggle without their talisman, but no one knew just how much they would until it became all too apparent at the Stade Velodrome- albeit not helped by a red card to Paul Willemse.

Clips of Dupont’s display will not be pleasant viewing for France as they prepare to face Scotland this weekend in Edinburgh. The only solace they can take is that he will return.


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