Antoine Dupont: France captain criticizes referee after Rugby World Cup loss to South Africa | Rugby Union News

Antoine Dupont criticizes referee Ben O’Keefe after France’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to South Africa; „I don’t want to be a bad loser and complain about the referee, but I’m not sure the referee was at the level of today’s game.”

7:09, UK, Monday 16 October 2023

After France crashed out of their home World Cup with a disappointing single-point defeat to defending champions South Africa in Paris, Antoine Dupont criticized the quality of refereeing.

The Springboks edged England 29-28 in an epic match at Stade de France to set up a semi-final clash.

France captain Dupont suffered a major disappointment in his much-publicised return from a broken cheekbone and felt a poor induction was partly to blame.

Asked about New Zealand referee Ben O’Keeffe’s performance, the scrum-half replied: „Well, what did you think of that?

„It’s hard to talk about things because there’s a lot of disappointment, a lot of disappointment.

“There were some obvious things that didn’t blow the whistle.

„I’m a bad loser and I don’t want to whine about the referee, but I’m not sure the refereeing was at the level of the game today.”

Antoine Dupont returns from injury as France fall miserably against world champions

A restless DuPont was pictured with his hands on his head at full-time, then teary-eyed as he was hugged by his parents.

The 26-year-old returned to action less than 24 days after suffering a serious facial injury that threatened to end his tournament early, donning a scrum-cap for added protection.

France flew out of the blocks to lead 22-19 at the end of one of the most exciting opening 40 minutes in World Cup history, with the two teams sharing six tries.

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Eben Etzebeth returned from the sin-bin to help South Africa with the only touch of a tight second period, while Les Bleus charged one of Tomas Ramos’ three conversion tries through Cheslin Kolbe.

France head coach Fabian Caldi has confirmed that prop Uni Adonio and lock Romain Daofifenua, two senior members of his squad, will retire and he intends to remain in his role.

France’s dreams of a World Cup finals on home soil were ended by the Springboks

French President Emmanuel Macron consoled his countrymen in the dressing room after the match.

„For four years we wrote a beautiful page of French history that the soldiers can be proud of,” said Galti.

“We may also be sad because of the result tonight.

„No regrets. You are allowed to lose like we did today. We did everything to improve our ability.”

Asked if there was any chance he would step down, the 54-year-old replied: „Well, no, I’m contracted until June 2028.”

South Africa advanced to the World Cup semi-finals with England

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi praised Dupont’s powers of recovery as he reflected on a thrilling knockout encounter.

„The game is an amazing game,” he said. „It flowed, it was tough, it was physical, there was a lot of competition. The way both teams played surpassed everything else out there.

“The atmosphere was amazing and it was a perfect stage for everything.

„They have been building this French team for four years and we knew we would need something special to win this game because they are so good.”

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He continued: „Their leader is injured and he has to do everything he can to come back to a game like this and play like he’s never left the field before … We give them all the credit and the French people have made this. The World Cup is very special.

“We know how loud and hectic it can be.

„The French can be proud of their team, it was a one-point game and we had to win with Cheslin.

„It’s a perfect game and it’s going to take something special from us to win this game.”

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