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‘Dynamite’ Dupont leads France’s quest for Rugby World Cup glory

‘Dynamite’ Dupont leads France’s quest for Rugby World Cup glory


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Widely regarded as the world’s most gifted rugby player, France captain Antoine Dupont will be carrying the hopes of a nation as he leads Les Bleus into a World Cup at home on Friday, bidding to end the hosts’ long wait for a Webb Ellis Cup.

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Antoine Dupont will be the main string-puller as France push for a first World Cup title on home soil.

Antoine Dupont will be the main string-puller as France push for a first World Cup title on home soil. © Christophe Ena, AP

France, still gunning for a maiden title after three final defeats, are among the hot favourites to win the sport’s quadrennial showpiece event, which runs through October 28.

Expectations surrounding the home side are sky-high as they prepare to take on New Zealand’s All Blacks in a tantalising curtain-raiser at the Stade de France near Paris, with all eyes on Dupont, France’s electrifying skipper.

“Obviously the closer we get, the more we feel the excitement, the enthusiasm, the fervour,” Dupont told reporters on Thursday, while playing down talk of the pressure weighing on the home side.

Read moreRugby World Cup 2023: Who are the favourites?

Relaxed, demure and seemingly unfazed by global fame, French rugby’s poster boy has become the face of the tournament, his image ubiquitous in cities up and down the country – including outside the Louvre museum in Paris.

Dupont already has his wax statue at the Grévin Museum in Paris, his voice is being used by the national train company SNCF, and when Volvic revived an iconic advert from the early 2000s, featuring Zinedine Zidane, it naturally tapped the French rugby star to stand in for the football legend.

France’s scrum-half is also the hero of a comic book titled “I Wi

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