You've just won the Top 14 player awardfor the second time. Is that something that matters to you?
Antoine Dupont: I don't know if it counts, but in any case it validates the work and the fact that we manage to string together good seasons. We know that's the hardest thing at a high level. And above all, to be able to do them collectively with the Stade de France, we are fortunate to have won a lot in recent seasons. This trophy is reflected in this trophy.
Is it more valuable to be recognized by your peers?
The fact that it's the other players who elect me means a lot. It's nice to feel recognized by the people you play against every weekend.
Are you still hungry with Stade Toulousain?
Paradoxically, the year we didn't win a title (in 2022), it was perhaps the one that made us the hungriest. That taste, to lose twice in the semi-finals, to finish the season with nothing, when you see the potential of this team, it was hard to live with.
This title is the crowning glory of last season. It's already a long way off...
Yes, a lot has happened since then... But despite this, we quickly went back to the daily grind of the championship. We've moved on to a new season.
More generally, how are you?
It's okay, it's true that there are always regrets that come back when we talk about this World Cup. They will take a long time to leave, if they leave. But we took the time to regenerate, to change our heads. To find the daily life of the club, the friends, our personal life... It allowed us to take our minds off things, to set new goals, to move on and to get rid of that by being able to play on the field again.
"I'm going to come back and play in the finals with Stade Toulousain"
In your new goals, there is the Olympic Games this year...
It has been several months now that we are trying to settle with "France 7", with the club, with the Federation. To give me the means to try to participate in these Olympic Games. Today, I am part of a larger group. I'm going to spend some time with them, try to acclimatise to the sport as best I can, hopefully perform well and be able to apply for these Olympics.
Is it difficult to switch from one to the other?
I'll get back to you in a few months... (Laughs) I don't know. But when you see the effort it requires, it's certain that there will be a necessary adaptation time.
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Why do you dream about the Games?
There are so many reasons... For any sports fan, the Olympic Games remain mythical. It's true that it's a little less so for rugby fans, where we have less of this appetite since this sport has recently become an Olympic sport. But despite that, hosting the Olympics in France, it's going to be an incredible celebration to be able to be part of it. Especially to be able to claim an Olympic medal. It's a very motivating challenge.
Are you going to go back and forth between XV and 7?
Yes, I'm going to come back to play in the finals with Stade Toulousain. And I hope I can still lift that Shield. (...) There are time slots that are planned, I can spend time with the 7 but keep my deadlines and my objectives with Stade Toulousain. At the beginning of January, there will be an informal meeting with the group of 7 so that I can get in touch with the team.
"I tried to switch off, I didn't want to watch the end of the competition"
How have you changed in the last few months?
We've all matured and gained experience with this World Cup. Even if it wasn't the outcome we expected. After that, I don't think I've changed fundamentally. In the last few seasons, perhaps. My game has evolved, so has my personality. The first few times I came to Rugby Night, I didn't have a beard and matches in my paws... (Smiles)
How did you experience the weeks following the elimination?
I felt the need to go away for a bit, I went on holiday quite far away. I tried to switch off, I didn't want to watch the end of the competition, to see another team lift the trophy. Sport is made up of these moments, you have to be able to grow from them. This is the only way forward.