With Antoine Dupont injured for at least France’s final Pool A World Cup game against Italy, head coach Fabien Galthie could opt to switch between Maxime Lucu or Baptiste Couilloud at scrumhalf depending on the opponent instead of naming just one of them.
Dupont underwent surgery on a facial injury on Friday and will stay with the squad, but he is a major doubt for a potential quarter-final clash against defending champions South Africa.
Les Bleus, who are already without injured flyhalf Romain Ntamack at the World Cup, will top Pool A if they beat the Azzurri on Oct. 6 in Lyon.
Lucu was disappointing in France’s 27-12 win against Uruguay while Couilloud was scintillating when he came on for Dupont in Thursday’s 96-0 demolition of Namibia, but there were mitigating factors in both performances.
Lucu was part of a reserve team who were largely under par while Couilloud stepped onto the field in a game that France were dominating with their best players.
Former France scrumhalf Guy Accoceberry – part of the team that won a Five Nations Grand Slam in 1997 and finished third at the 1995 World Cup – believes Galthie should decide who starts depending on the opponents’ profile.
While he is a solid player like Dupont, Lucu lacks the France captain’s spark, which Couilloud could provide.
Another option might have been to bring in Baptiste Serin and keep Lucu and Couilloud as finishers, but that would mean Dupont is ruled out of the tournament, which is not the case yet.