Returning 110kg French star is more important than Dupont for win over the Boks
By Rugby Onslaught

Returning 110kg French star is more important than Dupont for win over the Boks

While everyone has been talking about the injury to France captain Antoine Dupont over the last two weeks, another player has been on the recovery trail at the same time, and this player may actually be more important than the scrum-half.

Yes, Dupont is probably the best player in the world, but in Maxime Lucu they have a good replacement. Not only that, but South Africa have the players and the defence to nullify the No9 potentially.

The area of the game where they might struggle to compete in is hooker, where Julien Marchand is nearing a return. The No2 picked up a hamstring injury in the opening match of the World Cup against the All Blacks, but a video shared by him recently shows him back in training on the grass. If he could be fit for a potential clash between France and South Africa in the quarter-finals, it could be the deciding factor.

Look at it this way- going into the World Cup, the two best hookers in the world were Malcolm Marx and Julien Marchand. People will be split on which one is better. Both have picked up injuries, but Marx’s ruled him out of the tournament, while Marchand’s did not. For one of them to be fit in the quarter-final, it is no longer the best going against the best, it is now the best going against a lesser player. To be fair, Bongi Mbonambi is still one of the best hookers in the world, but where it may become really apparent is when Mbonambi and Marchand both leave the field.

The game may change when the substitutes come on as the replacements for each player are different. South Africa have not opted for an out and out hooker beyond Mbonambi, and have relied on flankers Deon Fourie and Marco van Staden. It cost them in the latter stages against Ireland, and that could very well happen again against France when they are able to call upon specialist hookers. Bok fans will just have to hope that Marchand does not recover in time.


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