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Antoine Dupont: France captain returns for Rugby World Cup quarter-final against South Africa

Antoine Dupont

Antoine DupontAntoine Dupont’s last appearance was against Namibia on 21 SeptemberRugby World Cup 2023: France v South AfricaVenue: Stade de France, Paris Date: Sunday, 15 October Kick-off: 20:00 BSTCoverage: Live commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, plus text updates on the BBC Sport website and app.

France captain Antoine Dupont will start at scrum-half in their World Cup quarter-final against South Africa on Sunday after recovering from a fractured cheekbone.

Dupont suffered the injury in the pool game against Namibia on 21 September.

The 26-year-old was cleared to resume full training on Monday, and may wear a scrum cap for the game.

He is the only change to Fabien Galthie’s starting XV as the hosts play the defending world champions.

“I’m in full capacity of my means, be that physical or mental, to be ready for this match,” insisted Dupont.

“It was important for me to tick all the boxes before coming back.

“The World Cup is long. I was lucky the injury happened early on.”

Dupont will be playing his 20th Test as captain and is yet to lose a match on home soil in the role.

Maxime Lucu, who started at scrum-half in the 60-7 win over Italy, drops to the bench as France opt for a 6-2 split between forwards and backs which sees pacy flanker Sekou Macalou coming into the replacements.

The starting forward pack remains unchanged, as regular hooker Julian Marchand has still not recovered full fitness after picking up an injury in the victory over New Zealand in the first match of the tournament.

In the midfield La Rochelle’s Jonathan Danty continues his formidable partnership with Gael Fickou.

Damian Penaud, who starts on the right wing, is the top scorer in the tournament with six tries. The 27-year-old is three short of setting a new record for a single World Cup.

The hosts, who have a 100% record so far at France 2023, have opted for a 6-2 spilt on the bench for the second time at this tournament.

They have picked more forwards on the bench in an attempt to counter the Springboks’ power up front, although the defending champions have decided on a 5-3 split for the game.

Line-ups

France: Ramos; Penaud, Fickou, Danty, Bielle-Biarrey; Jalibert, Dupont (capt); Baille, Mauvaka, Atonio, Woki, Flament, Jelonch, Ollivon, Alldritt.

Replacements: Bourgarit, Wardi, Aldegheri, Taofifenua, Cros, Macalou, Lucu, Moefana.

South Africa: Willemse; Arendse, Kriel, De Allende, Kolbe; Libbok, Reinach; Kitshoff, Mbonambi, Malherbe, Etzebeth, Mostert, Kolisi (capt), Du Toit, Vermeulen.

Replacements: Fourie, Nche, Koch, Snyman, Smith, De Klerk, Pollard, Le Roux.

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