Rugby-New skipper Dupont eager to benchmark France against All Blacks


FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - England v France - Twickenham Stadium, London, Britain - March 13, 2021 France's Antoine Dupont during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Paul Childs

(Reuters) - Stand-in captain Antoine Dupont does not believe his new role will affect his performance and is eager for his French side to benchmark their progress against New Zealand in their autumn international clash in Paris next month.

Dupont, considered arguably the best scrumhalf in the world, has been named captain with regular skipper Charles Ollivon likely to be out until next year with a knee injury.

France host Argentina on Nov. 6, and then Georgia and New Zealand on consecutive weekends after that, and Dupont believes the last of those clashes will be key with the two sides to also clash at the Stade de France in the opening game of the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

"It is always an important and big game when we play New Zealand, and unfortunately the last few matches against them were not good for France," Dupont told reporters on Tuesday.

"We will try to match them and, of course, the perspective of the 2023 World Cup makes it even more exciting for us. As with all games, we aim to win.

"We have had some good results recently, but we are able to do even better. We will need to be more coherent. We are able to do good things, we know that, but sometimes we (let ourselves down), so the challenge will be to stay consistent throughout the (autumn) series."

Dupont believes coach Fabien Galthie has France on the right track after they finished second in the 2021 Six Nations and narrowly lost a series in Australia.

"Fabian has brought structure to our game and we are also better in our way of functioning. And we have not had all our players together at one time yet," he said.

As for his role as captain, he does not see it affecting his performances.

"I don’t think things will change, I think I will still be able to focus on my game."

(Reporting by Nick Said; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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