Roosters must ‘learn’ to play without Dupont


France play in their opening game of the Six Nations on Friday night and they will have to go into the tournament without the services of Antoine Dupont.

The Roosters’ World Cup captain and scrumhalf has decided to put aside his fifteen-man career for the time being to focus on the Olympic Games with the Frenchmen’s sevens team.

However, coach Fabien GalthiƩ said during a media session that France must quickly build a bridge over the void left by Dupont.

“This is an opportunity for other players to show what they can do in the number nine jersey. Someone like Maxime Lucu has been part of the set-up for some time and rarely disappoints.”

The 31-year-old Bordeaux player is precisely Matthieu Jalibert’s liaison partner for the Ireland showdown.

“The ball is in his hands. He now has to make his mark on the game and show us what he can do. At the same time, someone like Nolann le Garrec can also fill Antoine’s shoes. It’s always good when players compete for a position.”

Eighth man Gregory Alldritt will lead France on the team, while Thomas Ramos and Lucu also count among the leadership group.

“They will simply have to learn to play without Antoine. It will be interesting to see this French team in action.”

In the same breath, Ireland will also have to play without Johnny Sexton. The experienced flyhalf announced his retirement after the Rugby World Cup in France.

Jack Crowley will now run out at flyhalf for the Irish.

The 24-year-old player already showed in the United Rugby Championship that he is a player for the big moment when his successful drop kick attempt in the colors of Munster stopped Leinster in its tracks.

France: Thomas Ramos (full back), Damian Penaud (right wing), Gael Fickou (outside centre), Jonathan Danty (inside centre), Yoram Moefana (left wing), Matthieu Jalibert (fly-half), Maxime Lucu (scrum-half), Gregory Alldritt (eighth man), Charles Ollivon (flank), Francois Cros (flank), Paul Willemse (lock), Paul Gabrillagues (lock), Uini Atonio (prop), Peato Mauvaka (hooker) and Cyril Baille (prop). Substitutes: Julien Marchand, Reda Wardi, Dorian Aldegheri, Cameron Woki, Romain Taufifenua, Paul Boudehent, Nolann le Garrec and Louis Bielle-Biarrey.

Ireland: Hugo Keenan (full back), Calvin Nash (right wing), Robbie Henshaw (outside centre), Bundee Aki (inside centre), James Lowe (left wing), Jack Crowley (fly-half), Jamison Gibson-Park (scrum-half), Caelan Doris (eighth man), Josh van der Flier (flank), Peter O’Mahoney (flank), Tadhg Beirne (lock), Joe McCarthy (lock), Tadhg Furlong (prop), Dan Sheehan (hooker) and Andrew Porter (prop). Subs: Ronan Kelleher, Cian Healy, Finlay Bealham, James Ryan, Ryan Baird, Jack Conan, Conor Murray and Ciaran Frawley.

Kick-off time: Friday at 22:00 and the action will be broadcast live on SuperSport.