Portugal Colonial - France have 'no issues' over Covid-hit Dupont before Six Nations opener

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France have 'no issues' over Covid-hit Dupont before Six Nations opener
France have 'no issues' over Covid-hit Dupont before Six Nations opener

France have 'no issues' over Covid-hit Dupont before Six Nations opener

France's head of performance Thibault Giroud said on Thursday he expects captain Antoine Dupont to feature against Italy in the Six Nations this weekend despite playing just once in the past seven weeks.

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World player of the year Dupont, 25, suffered a knee problem and contracted Covid-19 since beating Cardiff with his club Toulouse on December 11.

Scrum-half Dupont is expected to continue to stand in for regular skipper Charles Ollivon, who has a long-term knee injury, as France host the Italians in their tournament opener on Sunday.

"Antoine is good, there are no issues, we're just managing his load, like we do with other players," Giroud told reporters.

"Obviously he lacks a bit of gametime but you can't compare normal people and professional players at this level.

"We want him back at his level but not so that he plays and is over-tired," he added.

Dupont is one of five domestic team-mates, including half-back partner Romain Ntamack, who missed last week's training camp near Marseille due to the illness.

"They returned in different states for each player," Giroud said.

"It's not down to the lack of fitness of a player but players who had Covid were unable to train specifically, they had to stay at home.

"It's not five-six days of being sidelined at this stage of the season which will cause problems.

"Physically, they're top-level athletes, they react and get back to things very quickly," he added.

P.Serra--PC