The National Times - France skipper Dupont warns against Grand Slam complacency

France skipper Dupont warns against Grand Slam complacency

France skipper Dupont warns against Grand Slam complacency
France skipper Dupont warns against Grand Slam complacency

France captain Antoine Dupont urged his side to guard against complacency after they moved within two matches of a first Six Nations title and Grand Slam since 2010 by sweeping aside bogey team Scotland with a thumping 36-17 victory at Murrayfield on Saturday.

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"We're very satisfied with this victory because it's very difficult to win at Murrayfield, but we still have two matches to play and we have to remain cautious," said Dupont, whose side ran in six tries to overwhelm a Scotland team who thwarted their title ambitions in 2020 and 2021.

Having already overcome Italy and Ireland at home, France head to Wales on March 11, with the chance of clinching a title and Grand Slam against England in Paris eight days later.

"We haven't won the tournament for twelve years and we have to aim for that," added Dupont, who set up the opening try for giant lock Paul Willemse with a blistering break.

"But we have to make sure we are not complacent. We have to be rigorous."

The French were rigorous and ruthless in their attacking from turnover ball as tries from Willemse, wingers Yoram Moefana and Damian Penaud, who bagged two, and centres Gael Fickou and Jonathan Danty earned their first Six Nations win in Edinburgh since 2014.

"The French are probably up there with the All Blacks in terms of getting tries from turnover ball," said Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, whose team beat England in their opening game but now find themselves out of the title reckoning, having lost to Wales in Cardiff two week ago.

"Their front five add to that as well. It's not just the backs. You’ve got a real XV who can attack."

France are now on a six-match winning streak which includes their stunning 40-25 victory against New Zealand in Paris in November.

"In international rugby, what is important is to win matches," said France head coach Fabien Galthie.

"We have to win and each victory is one more brick that we put on the wall that we're trying to build.

"However, losses allow us to learn a lot and what we experienced here two years ago helped us a lot today."

Asked about his team's ruthless counter-attacking, the former France captain and scrum-half said: "Rugby is a transition game. That is what we have worked on consistently - and also how to use our qualities, the intuition we have to allow the players to shift quickly from defence to attack.

"You can see in our training sessions we work on this transition game. You could see that today. There was quality in our decision making and great carrying of the ball."

Scotland, who were hit by the loss of flanker Hamish Watson to Covid-19 on the eve of the match, head to Rome to face Italy on March 12 before finishing their campaign against Ireland in Dublin.

"It's a horrible feeling in the changing room," said captain Stuart Hogg, whose side closed to with two points after a 28th minute try by flanker Rory Darge but tailed off long before winger Duhan van der Merwe's 80th minute score.