He showed up in the corridors of the Olympia, with a slight black eye, the stigma of this World Cup with a cruel end. Antoine Dupont, captain of the XV of France, found the smile after the elimination of the Blues in the quarter-finals of the World Cup against South Africa (29-28). On Monday evening, he was crowned the best player in the Top 14 during the Nuit de rugby. And he spoke about his year 2024, under the sign of the Olympic Games, with the France rugby sevens team.
This trophy should make you happy...
ANTOINE DUPONT. It validates the collective work. We've been lucky enough to win a lot with Stade Toulousain in recent seasons, and this trophy validates that. It's also the recognition of his peers, that it's the other players who elect me is a pleasure.
Are you okay?
All right. It's true that when we talk about this World Cup again, there are regrets that come back, that will take time to pass, if they leave... We took the time to regenerate, to wash our heads, to get back to the daily life of the club, our friends, our personal life... It allows you to take your mind off things and find new goals.
And among the new objectives, there are the Paris 2024 Olympics with rugby sevens. What will be your program?
It has been several months now that we are trying to stall with France VII, with the club, with the Federation to be able to try to give me the means to participate in these Olympic Games. Today there is an enlarged group of which I am a part. I'm going to spend some time with them, try to acclimatise as best I can, hoping to perform well to apply for these Olympics.
Is it difficult to go from XV to VII?
I'll get back to you in a few months... (laughs). But when you see the effort it requires, it's certain that there will be a necessary adaptation time.
Why do you dream about the Games?
For all sports fans, the Olympics are mythical. For rugby fans, maybe a little less so because the sport has only recently been there. But despite that, to be able to host this sporting event in France, it's going to be an incredible celebration. To be able to be part of it and compete for an Olympic medal is a very motivating challenge.