Antoine Dupont: Five OUTSTANDING moments of defence by the French superstar
The second round of the Six Nations saw the two title favourites face off in an epic Test match in Dublin, with the winner set to push on towards a possible Grand Slam.
The Test made for brilliant viewing, and world number one side Ireland came out on top with an impressive 32-19 win over France.
Despite losing, the ultra-popular Antoine Dupont stole some of the headlines with a superhuman try-saving tackle on Mack Hansen underlining his class on both sides of the ball.
In light of Dupont’s prowess on defence, Planet Rugby has selected five of the Frenchman’s best tackles, including another look at THAT Hansen moment.
Dupont defensive efforts
It would be rude not to start with the tackle on everyone’s lips, and one some fans feel is one of the greatest try-savers in Six Nations history.
The context of the game sets the tone, with France trailing by three points in a tight affair. Hugo Keenan loses the ball only metres from the line courtesy of pressure from Gael Fickou, only for it to roll out into Hansen’s path.
The winger can only see a try line in front of him as he collects the ball no more than three metres out before putting his head down for the whitewash. Dupont is wise to this and initially grabs the Irishman from the side before showing Herculean strength to hold Hansen just about over the line and drag him back to prevent the try.
It is one of those moments in rugby that rob fans of their breath – something Dupont has been doing for several years now.
The second tackle comes at another crucial moment in the game, with England 10 points down and in a great position with only a few minutes on the clock. A quick try in these kinds of circumstances can make for a nervy finish.
In pressure moments, teams want their biggest players to step up. Enter Dupont.
Red Rose scrum-half Will Heinz takes the ball from the base of the scrum, looking to inject some pace from the platform and link up with other backline players. Instead, Dupont telegraphs his movement and absolutely roasts Heinz with a perfect tackle across his chest, forcing the knock-on and effectively securing the game.
Antoine ̶D̶u̶ ̶P̶o̶n̶t̶ ̶D̶u̶P̶o̶n̶t̶ Dupont perfect late game tackle on Heinz from rugbyunion
The next one comes from a 2019 Rugby World Cup game, although this time France are beyond the seven-point buffer. Nevertheless, the effort is outstanding and technique a coach’s dream.
Tonga had the ball in a good position and looked potent before centre Siale Piutau expertly broke the line after a sumptuous short ball to him. The star looks odds on to canter over as he widens his line with only the whitewash in front of him.
That is until a sweeping Dupont shot out of nowhere and executed the most technically sound diving tackle from behind, wrapping around the ball carrier’s ankles and stopping him in his tracks. Simply brilliant.
Once again, Dupont’s defensive brilliance comes in a space where it is well and truly needed. Scotland had the scrum dangerously close to the French line, and the scrum-half sniped down the blindside, which turned out to be a bad idea.
The Frenchman was waiting for that attack and said, ‘not in my channel,’ proceeding to unceremoniously dump the Scot several metres behind the contact point. The key is how the scrum-half lifts and drives the player back, effectively killing any attacking potential from the next phase.
It does beg the question, just how strong is Dupont actually?
Dupont with a very dominant tackle against his opposite number! from rugbyunion
It seems as though the Toulouse man loves to make big hits against Scotland, with Ali Price the victim in this one.
Scotland were in a decent position attacking on France’s 22-metre line, and Price was looking to take a step or two before playing it to a pod of forwards.
Dupont read his opposite number like a book, and instead of lifting and driving, the 26-year-old steamrolled Price in a spectacular hit.
READ MORE: Six Nations report card: Fatigued France below par in title defence
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