Home Sport Even now, Dupont can’t get over bitter taste of semi-final defeat

Even now, Dupont can’t get over bitter taste of semi-final defeat

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France captain Antoine Dupont told French reporters that the pain of the 29-28 quarter-final exit is undiminished and a sense of ‘injustice’ continues.

France’s Antoine Dupont dejected after their 29-28 defeat to South Africa. Picture: Ashley Western, Colorsport, Shutterstock (14148974l)

Six weeks after the Springboks dumped France out of their World Cup, captain Antoine Dupont says he is still having nightmares.

Dupont told French reporters that the pain of the 29-28 quarter-final exit is undiminished and a sense of “injustice” continues. Dupont also suffered the agony of a one-point loss to Wales in the quarter-finals of the 2019 tournament.

“In 2019,” he said, “we were also eliminated by one point while we were leading by 12 or 13 points with a quarter of an hour to go, but I never watched the match again.

“With this one, I needed to. I couldn’t sleep, so I watched the match the next day.

“You always have an impression on the pitch but sometimes, re-watching the match, it’s different. It was to see if this feeling of injustice was real or not.”

Dupont has been careful to not ascribe this “injustice” to referee Ben O’Keefe. The question of whether he was referring to his perception that France were the better team on the day was left hanging in the air.

“I will again have the opportunity to win the World Cup perhaps, but we have regrets over this match,” he said.

“You replay it in your head and the worse it goes, the worse it ends up going. So, all you want to do is sleep and then wake up hoping that it’s just a nightmare.

“Unfortunately, you have to come to accept it and move on. When you come home in the evening, you have a taste in your mouth. That doesn’t go away. You don’t want to have that feeling again one day.

“The more you think about it, the more you delve into it, the more it hurts. Because you understand the event because you were there.”

Dupont made his return to action in the Top 14 after the World Cup two weekends ago for Toulouse, helping Le Stade to victory in matches over Castres and most recently Clermont Auvergne.

Toulouse face Stade Francais this weekend. Dupont’s next international assignment will most likely be next year’s Six Nations when France open the tournament against Ireland in early February.

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