Six Nations

Season over for Dupont, Jalibert out for month

2018-02-04 21:11
Matthieu Jalibert (AP)

Paris - Talented young France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont's season is over due to a knee injury suffered against Ireland, national team coach Jacques Brunel told AFP on Sunday.

Meanwhile, teenage flyhalf Matthieu Jalibert, who made his debut in Saturday's dramatic 15-13 Six Nations defeat, will likely miss the rest of the tournament, also with a knee injury.

Dupont, 20, suffered a ruptured ligament during a nine-minute cameo on Saturday, while the 19-year-old Jalibert has a partially torn ligament.

"He will be out for a minimum of one month, perhaps two," said Brunel of Jalibert.

The Bordeaux No 10 could be fit again for France's final two tournament matches, at home to England on March 10 and away to Wales a week later.

Back-row forward Kevin Gourdon will be out for up to a month after twisting an ankle against Ireland, meaning he will certainly miss next week's trip to Scotland and possibly also the clash with Italy in Marseille on February 23.

Centre Henry Chavancy has been passed fit, though, after a suspicion of an ankle injury and fractured eyebrow bone.

Veteran Lyon flyhalf Lionel Beauxis was called up on Sunday evening as replacement for Jalibert, Brunel once again overlooking Toulon's Francois Trinh-Duc.

Dupont's replacement is Beauxis's uncapped club team-mate Baptiste Couilloud, another 20-year-old.

And having been surprisingly dropped from Brunel's original group, Louis Picamoles was recalled to fill in for Gourdon.

Former Toulouse and Northampton No 8 Picamoles responded to his France snub with an impressive performance in French Top 14 leaders Montpellier's 30-29 win at champions Clermont last week.

Brunel, who made his debut as France coach against Ireland, already faces the task of rebuilding his team, which has gone eight Tests without a victory, before next week's trip to Murrayfield.

"It's a slight hammer blow, but the competition continues," Brunel said of the last-gasp Ireland defeat.

"You have to get up, revive the spirits a bit and start tomorrow.

"The tournament does not allow us to dwell on the past. We must try to move forward quickly."

Brunel also admitted that it may have been a mistake to let replacement flyhalf Anthony Belleau, who looks in line to start against Scotland, take a crucial late penalty that could have handed France victory.

Maxime Machenaud had started the match as kicker and was back on the field after Dupont's injury, but Belleau, who had taken over kicking duties once the scrumhalf was substituted, took the shot at goal instead - and missed.

"Maxime had just come back on, Anthony said he felt good," said Brunel.

"Was it a mistake? Yes, maybe. Maybe Maxime could have done what was needed. But he had just returned, perhaps he wasn't in the right frame of mind."

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Saturday, 24 February 2018
Ireland v Wales, Aviva Stadium 16:15
Scotland v England, Murrayfield 18:45
Saturday, 10 March 2018
Ireland v Scotland, Aviva Stadium 16:15
France v England, Stade de France 18:45
Sunday, 11 March 2018
Wales v Italy, Millennium Stadium 17:00
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