Dusautoir out to ‘destory’ England

Thierry Dusautoir, the man dubbed France’s ‘Destroyer’, intends to put his body on the line for a second successive week to secure Les Bleus a place in the final of their own World Cup.

The 25-year-old was not even in France’s original squad of 30 for the tournament – but after being drafted in as a replacement for the injured Elvis Vermeulen, he has become one of Bernard Laporte’s ‘undroppables’.

It is easy to see why.

A look at Les Bleus’ statistics after last weekend’s sensational 20-18 quarter-final defeat of New Zealand will show that Dusautoir made 38 of his team’s 299 tackles.

He even made a mark going forward, scoring France’s first try that provided the impetus for its amazing second-half recovery.

The Toulouse back-row forward admits the All Blacks game took a lot out of him and his team-mates – and he is expecting more of the same against England in Saturday’s semi-final at the Stade de France.

“The day after the All Blacks match was very hard,” said Dusautoir.

“It was a match of the highest intensity – certainly the hardest of my career physically, especially considering the tension around the game.

“We gave a lot, and I hope we haven’t used it all up.

“We were so happy to beat New Zealand, but I don’t want to rest on my laurels because there is another match to prepare for this weekend.

“It is going to be just as intense.”

Dusautoir’s is a remarkable story.

Born in Abidjan, the capital of the Ivory Coast, he moved to France at the age of 10 – settling with his family in Perigueux in the Dordogne area.

Judo, not rugby union, was his first sport – and he picked up the oval ball for the first time when he was sixteen after being persuaded to by some of his friends.

While playing first for Begles-Bordeaux then Colomiers, he continued his university studies and is qualified as a chemical engineer.

But he is making his name as a rugby player now and is established at Toulouse, for whom he signed from Biarritz in the summer of 2006.

France defence coach David Ellis first noticed Dusautoir when both were at Bordeaux.

“He was in the juniors then, and we invited him to the main squad on several occasions,” recalled Ellis.

“He could hit hard back then, and I knew he would cause a few problems. So it is no surprise at all to see where he is.”

Dusautoir’s inscrutable demeanour is part of his armoury.

“There’s no emotion on his face. It is difficult to get two words out of him,” added Ellis.

“He sits there calmly, takes it all in – and when he goes on to the field, he just changes into a monster.”

“He is really well-placed in the defensive organisation, and his really strong point is when he hits in the tackle.

“You saw the tackles he did on Richie McCaw and Jerry Collins.

“He has no respect for reputations. He is too busy building one for himself.”

Dusautoir was left out of France’s first game – the catastrophic 17-12 defeat to Argentina – but has played in every other match this tournament, ousting the likes of Remy Martin, Imanol Harinordoquy and Yannick Nyanga for a starting berth at openside flanker.

365 Digital

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