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Six Nations: France star Gregory Alldritt makes Antoine Dupont admission ahead of Ireland opener

France captain Gregory Alldritt has warned Ireland his side are primed to “produce a huge performance” in Friday evening’s Guinness Six Nations opener in Marseille.

La Rochelle number eight Alldritt will lead his country against the reigning Grand Slam champions at Stade Velodrome in the absence of regular skipper Antoine Dupont.

The 26-year-old is feeling unburdened by the additional individual responsibility as the pre-tournament favourites attempt to begin with a statement result against Andy Farrell’s title holders.

“There is a lot of pride, a lot of honour,” Alldritt said of taking the captaincy from Dupont, who is missing the tournament to focus on France’s sevens squad for the Paris Olympics.

“Up to now it has been very easy, we have a wonderful group.

“We have largely been together for the past four years, we feed off each other automatically and I have only one desire: for it already to be tomorrow.

“For the moment I feel the same pressure as I do before every Six Nations, every Test.

“We do not put negative pressure on ourselves, we have confidence in our strategy but we will have to be extremely accurate and up our intensity tomorrow.

“We have worked well and I believe we are ready to produce a huge performance tomorrow.”

Bordeaux scrum-half Maxime Lucu will fill the void left by Dupont, while uncapped Perpignan lock Posolo Tuilagi – the nephew of England’s Manu Tuilagi – was on Friday added to the hosts’ bench in place of Romain Taofifenua.

France’s clash with Ireland has proved to be the championship title decider in each of the past two years.

Alldritt, who played in Les Bleus’ 30-24 win in Paris in 2022 and their 32-19 loss in Dublin last February, is braced for a “massive challenge”.

“It will be a bit too early to say that (it is the decider),” he said.

“Of course, it’s a really important game for the tournament.

“That’s the beauty of the Six Nations: you need to be consistent every weekend, so we just go step by step and the first one is a massive step for us, a massive challenge.”

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