Munster discover the secret to stopping the world’s best player
It is a code that the entire rugby world have been trying to crack over the last two years, how do you stop Antoine Dupont? While the France and Toulouse scrum-half has been picking up trophies galore, the rest of the rugby world has been left more or less helpless as he has caused havoc around the fringes of every ruck.
Well Munster may have taken the first step towards learning how to curtail the reigning World Rugby player of the year, shown in their narrow loss to the reigning Heineken Champions Cup winners in the quarter-final last Saturday at the Aviva Stadium.
Of course, it has to be noted that Toulouse did indeed win, with Dupont actually kicking the winning penalty in the epic shootout after extra time, but in the 100 minutes beforehand he was not at his destructive best.
The No9 has had the benefit of being behind an enormous pack with Toulouse and France in recent seasons, which has meant that he is often playing on the front foot. But pundit and former Ireland hooker Bernard Jackman recently pinpointed how Munster were able to slow down the 25-year-old.
The tactic saw the tackler often get to their feet and push and compete at the ruck. This stopped Dupont getting clean ball and meant he was often taking a backwards step when picking the ball up. Meanwhile, this gave the pillar defenders the opportunity to push up hard and pressure him, and it worked. Dupont was often caught out and ended up being manhandled by Munster defenders.
This is what Jackman wrote on Twitter: “Munster’s Defensive Breakdown was very effective Sat. They put huge pressure on Antoine Dupont through the tackler barging post tackle and the Pillar defenders pushing up hard forcing him to retreat. I expect this to be a big focus for Toulouse in their Champions Cup semi final.”
Take a look:
Munster’s Defensive Breakdown was very effective Sat. They put huge pressure on Antoine Dupont through the tackler barging post tackle and the Pillar defenders pushing up hard forcing him to retreat. I expect this to be a big focus for Toulouse in their @ChampionsCup semi final pic.twitter.com/S7BpcnkCjc
— Bernard Jackman (@bernardjackman) May 9, 2022