France captain Dupont eager to enjoy Grand Slam as World Cup looms
Published: Mar 20, 2022 07:14 PM

France captain Antoine Dupont insisted he wanted to "make the most" of a long-awaited Grand Slam success and not worry about the World Cup after a 25-13 win at home to England saw Les Bleus to a first Six Nations title in 12 years.

Victory strengthened France's status as favorites to win next year's World Cup on home soil, with scrum-half Dupont rounding off an impressive all-round display by running in the last of his side's three tries just after the hour mark at a raucous Stade de France on Saturday.

It was a triumph too for coach Fabien Galthie, who has revamped France since taking over following their disappointing quarterfinal exit at the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

France were runners-up in 2020 and again in 2021 but this year they deservedly went one better and did so with the tenth Grand Slam in their history.

"This is our third Six Nations together - the first two we failed but not by much," scrum-half Dupont told reporters.

"You can use all the superlatives you want, but we just want to savour this together."

When it was put to Dupont he was now in a line of French Grand Slam captains that includes Christian Carrere (1968) and Jean-Pierre Rives (1981), he replied with a smile, "You've forgotten Fabien Galthie (2002)!

"Today [Saturday], we've created memories - first we want to win for ourselves, for the staff and for our fans. We wanted to write our own history."

As for the World Cup - a trophy France have yet to win despite appearing in three finals - ­Dupont said, "Of course, this is in our mind... It's impossible to avoid.

"But right now we are going to make the most of this victory, this Grand Slam.

"We'll think about the future later."

For Melvyn Jaminet, who kicked 10 points against England, France's clean sweep ­completed a fairytale few months.

"I don't think it has sunk in yet," he said. "The Grand Slam is not something you get every year.

"For me to win the Six Nations the first time I played in it is just crazy, it's unbelievable," the Perpignan back added.

"I know where I've come from, it has all been crazy fast - six months ago, I was playing in the second division and now I'm a Grand Slam winner."

Defeat meant England had lost three games in a Six Nations campaign for the third time in five years - a poor return for one of the best-resourced teams in world rugby.

But England coach Eddie Jones said questions about his future, 18 months out from the World Cup, were best dealt with by his employers at the Rugby Football Union.

"That is not a question I need to answer," he said. "I just do my job."

The veteran Australian coach, who took England all the way to a 2019 World Cup final where they were beaten by South Africa, added, "I'm disappointed. Disappointed for the fans, for the players. I obviously haven't done a good enough job, I accept that, but we're moving in the right direction."