On the sidelines of Rugby Night where he was voted best player of last season, the captain of the French XV Antoine Dupont spoke about the defeat of the Blues in the quarter-final of the World Cup before discussing the multiple projects that drive it, particularly with a view to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Do these kinds of trophies still count?
I don’t know if that counts, but in any case, it validates the work. The important thing is not to have a successful season but to string them together. With Stade Toulouse, we are lucky to have been able to win in recent seasons and that is reflected in this trophy. It also marks the recognition of my peers and it means a lot, for me, to be esteemed by the people I face on the weekend.
How are you otherwise?
It’s okay, even if it’s still difficult to talk about this World Cup again. There are always regrets that come back and they will take time to go away… if they ever go away. Getting back into the daily life of the club and my friends did me good.
Do you still think about the World Cup often?
It happens to us, obviously. The regrets we will have, they are so great… We are not going to repeat the scenario of the match but prepared as we were, finishing where we finished was difficult. So it feels good to visit the club today.
How did you experience the weeks following the elimination?
I felt the need to go a little and quite far away. I needed to disconnect. I didn’t want to watch the end of the competition, to see another team lift a trophy that we had all imagined lifting in our dreams. But sport is made of these moments. You have to know how to grow out of it.
You now have another goal: to participate in the Paris 2024 Olympic Games…
We’ve been trying for several months, with the club, the federation and France 7, to be able to give me the opportunity and the means to try to participate in these Olympic games. I now hope to perform well and apply.
Is it difficult to go from 15 to 7?
I’ll tell you in a few months… But when I see the efforts that this discipline requires, it’s going to take time for me to adapt, that’s for sure.
Is it the Olympics that makes you dream?
There are so many reasons… For any sports fan, the Olympics remain legendary. Hosting this event in France will be an incredible celebration and being able to claim an Olympic medal is a highly motivating challenge.
Will you return for the final stages of the Top 14?
Yes, I will make the final stages with Stade Toulouse and I hope to be able to lift this Brennus Shield again. I can spend time with the 7 but also keep my goals with Stade Toulouse.
Have you changed in recent months?
We have all matured and gained experience with this World Cup. The first time I participated in this Rugby Night, I didn’t have as much beard, nor as many matches under my belt… We’re evolving, well…