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Antoine Dupont not happy with referee after France lose thriller to South Africa

France captain Antoine Dupont was not happy with the standard of refereeing after France crashed out of their home World Cup against reigning champions South Africa in Paris.

The Springboks edged an epic contest at Stade de France 29-28 to set up a semi-final showdown with England.

Les Bleus captain Dupont suffered major disappointment on his highly-publicised return from a fractured cheekbone and felt substandard officiating was partly to blame.

Asked about the performance of New Zealand referee Ben O'Keefe, the scrum-half replied: "Well, what did you think of it?

"It's hard to talk about things because there is a lot of disappointment, a lot of frustration.

"There were a few clear things where the whistle wasn't blown.

"I don't want to be a bad loser and moan about the refereeing but I'm not sure the level of refereeing was up to the level of the game today."

A disconsolate Dupont was pictured with his hands on his head at full-time and was later in tears as he was embraced by his parents.

The 26-year-old was back in action just 24 days after sustaining the serious facial injury which threatened to prematurely end his tournament, donning a scrum-cap for added protection.

France flew out of the blocks and led 22-19 at the end of one of the most exhilarating opening 40 minutes in World Cup history in which the two teams shared six tries.

Eben Etzebeth returned from the sin-bin to help South Africa over the line with the only touchdown of a tighter second period, while Les Bleus were left to rue one of Thomas Ramos' three conversion attempts being charged down by Cheslin Kolbe.

France head coach Fabien Galthie revealed prop Uini Atonio and lock Romain Taofifenua, the two oldest members of his squad, will retire and confirmed he intends to remain in his role.

French President Emmanuel Macron provided solace to his country's players in the dressing room after the match.

"For four years we wrote a beautiful page of French history that the players can be proud of," said Galthie.

"We can also be sad tonight because of the result.

"No regrets. You're allowed to lose like we did today. We did everything to optimise our potential."

Asked if there was a chance he may step down, the 54-year-old replied: "Well, no, I've got a contract to June 2028."

Springboks captain Siya Kolisi praised Dupont's powers of recovery as he reflected on a thrilling knockout encounter.

"The game itself was an amazing game," he said. "It flowed, it was tough, it was physical, there were a lot of contests. The way both teams played outshines everything else out there.

"The atmosphere was amazing and it was a perfect stage for everything.

"They've been building for four years this French team and we knew it was going to take something special for us to win this game because they are so good."

He continued: "And for their leader to be injured and do everything he can to come back for a game like this and play like he hasn't left the field before… we give all credit to them, and the French people have made this World Cup so special.

"We knew how loud and hectic it was going to be.

"The people of France can be proud of their team, it was a one-point game, and we had to win by a charge down by Cheslin.

"It was a proper game and it was going to take something so special from us to win this game."

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