Thierry Henry left speechless by Antoine Dupont: 'Standing up to South Africa is not easy'

Thierry Henry left speechless by Antoine Dupont: 'Standing up to South Africa is not easy'

French Football legend Thierry Henry hailed France captain Antoine Dupont after Les Bleus' loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals.

The former Arsenal and Barcelona superstar is now the France U21 football manager and spoke about the performances of the French rugby team at the World Cup.

Henry, who won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and captained the national team on several occasions during his career, was in awe of Dupont and said that the first half of the World Cup quarter-final left him speechless.

"I watched the first half without speaking," Henry told reporters ahead of France u21s game against Cyprus.

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"I was stressed, I know that a champion who is affected can come back in the second half.

"A team like South Africa goes into its comfort zone when it is not well; this is where you see a champion.

He added: "It's annoying, and I think we were all sad for them, but proud of everyone, really, because what they did is extraordinary.

"Standing up to South Africa is not easy; that's why I remained calm almost the entire match. But at the end, I was having trouble staying calm on the last possession."

Henry was keen to talk about Dupont after the captain returned in the quarter-final after sustaining a facial fracture in the pool stage match against Namibia.

Dupont played the match against the Springboks with a scrum cap on after undergoing surgery to have a plate put in.

"I would also like to talk about Dupont anyway, it's not good to single out a player, but he is extraordinary, Henry said.

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"I think this can be an example for everyone, he injures his face, he comes back, and it's him who launched all the attacks, he stopped everyone, he tackled, he put his head in and then see him cry at the end.

"There was everything; he showed us that he was human, that he was a warrior.

"The French team, thank you, the coach, thank you, but Dupont, frankly, hats off because donating your body for science, whether in the hospital or in the field, is not always easy because there will be after-effects of all that.

"He put his body on the line for his team and his country. For me, when I see a team struggling, there's really nothing to say.

"Yes, there were small mistakes, ok, but you lost against South Africa by one point. It's infuriating, really infuriating."

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