THREE FRENCH PLAY­ERS TO WATCH

NZ Rugby World - - Steinlager Series 2018 -

1 An­toine Dupont

Dupont was only 20 when he made his de­but against the All Blacks last year in Paris and he was quite su­perb.

There were fears in France that he was too in­ex­pe­ri­enced to cope with the oc­ca­sion, but he was one of their best play­ers and trou­bled the All Blacks with his pace, vi­sion and de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

The French typ­i­cally see their No 9 as their play-mak­ing gen­eral and Dupont, with a few more tests un­der his belt now, could well be the man France ask to lead them tac­ti­cally in June.

2 Teddy Thomas

The slen­der but dy­namic wing showed up well in Paris last year when he was able to score a first half try and then be­come a greater threat in the sec­ond half.

Thomas con­tin­ued his good form through­out the Six Na­tions and he seems ca­pa­ble of scor­ing tries when there doesn’t ap­pear to be much on.

It’s a gen­uine and im­por­tant skill be­cause the French, even now, re­main a side that plays off emo­tion more of­ten than not and a spec­tac­u­lar solo try can of­ten spark them into life.

3 Rabah Sli­mani

This ver­sa­tile prop has earned rave re­views in Europe. He’s strong, phe­nom­e­nally strong ap­par­ently and rarely, if ever, will you see him on his knees or even off his feet at any scrum.

He can play both sides but prefers the tight­head where he can be dis­rup­tive and dif­fi­cult to sub­due.

He is thought to be one of the high­est paid play­ers in the world and the French will ex­pect him to at­tack an All Blacks scrum that might not be as strong as usual given the lack of game time of Joe Moody and lack of ex­pe­ri­ence within the other loose­head op­tions.

TEDDY THOMAS

RABAH SLI­MANI

AN­TOINE DUPONT

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