Six Nations – France hosted last year’s World Cup, defeating Fabien Galthie’s supporting nation to claim home glory and the first-ever Webb Ellis Cup. The first comprehensive victory over New Zealand, 27-13, ignited patriotic fervor in the belief that captain Antoine Dupont could lead France to victory on home soil.

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Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets
Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets

But those hopes were brutally dashed at the quarter-final stage as winners South Africa pulled out a hard-fought 29-28 victory and unceremoniously knocked Dupont and his team out of the competition. The reaction in France was nothing short of despair, with mournful fans and pundits protesting perceived unfairness in New Zealander Ben O’Keefe’s refereeing, which they claimed helped ruin the nation’s chances of winning.

Channeling Potential into Six Nations:

Some of the criticism went overboard as the nation reeled from the defeat. Springbok scrum-half Kobus Reinach, who plies his club duties at top 14 side Montpellier, received death threats after praising O’Keefe and his assistants for handling the match’s pressure-cooker atmosphere well.

“No regrets, Galthie said after the defeat to the Springboks. We did everything we could to maximize our potential.”

That potential must now be channeled into the Six Nations as France kick off the tournament with a World Cup final that many neutral observers wanted, even expected, against Ireland. The Irish also had high World Cup hopes, fresh from winning the Grand Slam in last year’s Six Nations, but they traveled to New Zealand in another thrilling quarter-final, leaving coach Andy Farrell – as meticulous as Galthie in his planning – behind. licking his wounds in disappointment.

“It was a time of mourning for us, Galthie admitted. This is a huge disappointment after four years of hard work, four years of success with 80% wins and all these records. The only goal we wanted to achieve was to become world leaders. Champions. There was no other.”

Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets
Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets

France will be without Dupont for the Six Nations tournament, with the combative scrum-half committed to play for the national rugby sevens team ahead of this year’s Paris Olympics. It’s like going back to school, as is the case with each of the Six Nations, but we’re not starting from scratch, Galthie said of the build-up to Europe’s flagship rugby tournament.

“There is some feeling that this is a new start, but at the same time a continuation of the work of the last four years. We’ve lost two matches in two years; we’ve won a lot and it’s exciting to get back on that common path. “

France Six Nations Team Leadership Change:

Gregory Alldritt will replace Dupont as captain but Anthony Jelonch, who was filling in at scrum-half when injured at the World Cup, will miss the Six Nations with a knee injury. Galthie has named several uncapped players in his new 34-man squad, including Racing 92’s Nolann Le Garrec, who will compete with Maxime Lucoux for the starting half spot.

Other new faces include Racing midfielder Antoine Gibert, Toulon teammates defender Esteban Abadie and lock Mathias Halagau, and young Bordeaux-Begles center Nicolas Deportere. Stade Français lock Paul Gabrillag has received his first call-up since the 2019 World Cup.

Key players missing through injury include midfielder Romain Ntamack, lock Thibaut Flament and hooker Pierre Bourgari. Players such as flanker Sekou Makalu, playmaker Antoine Astoy and striker Gabin Villiers are not included in Galthie’s squad despite featuring in last year’s World Cup campaign.

Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets
Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets

France will need a strong performance against Ireland to kickstart the good feeling around the team that Galthie has created since taking over in 2019. Without Dupont, all eyes will on Aldritt’s ability to fill the captaincy vacated by a player most people would agree with. currently the best in the world, while Lucoux and Le Garrec will forced to play in the midfield position with Mathieu Jalibert.

Alldritt, Lucu to bridge France’s Six Nations Dupont gap

When it announced in November that France captain Antoine Dupont would miss the Six Nations to prepare for this year’s Paris Olympics, coach Fabien Galthie had to replace the influential scrum-half and captain. You can also read France Six Nations 2024- A Tale of Slow Starts and Soaring Heights.

Dupont’s decision to join the Olympic soccer team and compete for gold this summer for the hosts has debated for two years. Former World Rugby Player of the Year Dupont, 27, has been captain under Galthie since November 2021, with flankers Anthony Jelonch and Charles Ollivon filling in in his absence.

For this year’s Six Nations, which begins with France hosting Irish Grand Slam champions in Marseille on Friday, Galthie has selected La Rochelle number eight Gregory Alldrit to lead his country. Regarding the captaincy, we wanted to give life to our leadership by looking for other resources,” former captain Galthie told France Televisions on Sunday.

Gregory Alldritt brings his own personality, the 54-year-old added. Replacing Dupont in the number nine shirt, a highly valuable playing position in French rugby, will be the experienced Maxime Lucous from Bordeaux-Begles. Since making his debut in November 2021, Luku, 31, has appeared as a substitute 12 times in 18 Test matches.

“Having Antoine Dupont in your position is the same as New Zealand midfielders in the days of Dan Carter, Lucou said on Monday at the Midi Olympique. — You know that you will just play small fragments of matches. Instead of asking 10,000 questions, I prefer to try to understand what I can bring to these match segments, Luku added.”

Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets
Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets

X-factor

Lucou’s time in the starting line-up and his likely partnership with club partner Mathieu Jalibert this weekend puts the Basque midfielder ahead of youngster Noland Le Garrec in the pecking order.

But, On the pitch, I can assure you that there may be problems between Mathieu and me, Loucou said. I’m screaming, I’m a pest and I insulted him during the match, how can he do to me. With Mathieu, we are like an old couple, without the monotony, added the former Biarritz scrum-half.

A fluent English speaker thanks to his Scottish father, Alldritt helped his club to two consecutive European Cup titles under Ronan O’Gara’s former Ireland. He is quite chatty and talks a lot, France and La Rochelle center Jonathan Danti spoke to reporters this month about Alldritt.

“Ronan O’Gara made him the captain he is today, so he has a bit of an Anglo-Saxon vision. He requires a lot of precision and application, while keeping a smile and being a little French, the midfielder added.”

Not only has Dupont been important to France on the pitch, he has also taken rugby beyond the sport’s traditional center in the country, appearing on huge billboards and modeling for fashion brands. During the World Championships, Dupont won a time trial to prepare for his quarter-final defeat, and his recovery from a facial injury made headlines and captivated fans from the Pyrenees to Paris.

Absence of Dupont’s Game-Changing Presence:

Over the next few weeks, Galthie and his team will be missing someone who can win a game in a split second as they plan to make up for the disappointment of the World Cup. It will be very helpful for the players to take responsibility, former France striker Patrice Lagisque told AFP on Monday.

Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets
Six Nations Tickets | Guinness Six Nations Tickets

Antoine Dupont will not have to be the X Factor, there are other X Factor players. Damian Penaud, Mathieu Jalibert, Charles Ollivon, Gregory Aldritt, Julien Marchand, Piato Mouwaka. There is (Louis) Biel… Biarri, who is getting better.

It would be good for everyone to take responsibility for some initiative in terms of the game. Showing that it’s not just Antoine Dupont is the difference, the 61-year-old added.

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