Dupont: 'Sacrifices will have to be made'
SPOTLIGHT: France captain Antoine Dupont said he will have to make “sacrifices” if he is to feature for his country at next year’s Olympic Games in Paris.
Last week, it was announced he would miss the Six Nations and a chunk of the club season to focus on preparing to play Sevens at the Games.
The 27-year-old is set to join France’s Sevens squad in January before World Rugby Sevens circuit events in Vancouver on February 23-24 and Los Angeles on March 2-3.
“It’s been a while that discussions have been underway for me to be made available for this team,” Dupont told Canal+ after being named the Top 14’s Player of the Season.
“We’ll have to adjust things, I won’t be able to play all the matches every weekend until the end of the season.
“Competing for an Olympic medal is really motivating.
“Sacrifices will have to be made to be able to spend time with the team,” he added.
Dupont, 27, collected his second Player of the Year award – he also won in 2021 – having helping his club Toulouse to a record-extending 22nd French championship.
The scrumhalf pipped France teammate and La Rochelle No.8 Greg Alldritt as well as Bayonne’s Les Bleus flyhalf Camille Lopez to the award during a glamorous ceremony in the French capital on Monday.
French rugby’s poster boy Dupont has played two Toulouse games since hosts France were knocked out of the World Cup by eventual winners South Africa.
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The men’s Sevens at the Olympics will be held at the Stade de France in July, months after October’s disappointing result in the XV-a-side code in the same stadium.
Former Australia captain Michael Hooper will also be bidding for a place at the sevens tournament.
Dupont’s France football counterpart, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is also keen to take part in the Games on home soil.
San Antonio Spurs’s French basketball player Victor Wembanyama is another who has said he wants to take part in the Olympics in the city where he grew up.
“For all sports fans, the Olympic Games are mythical,” Dupont said.
“Being able to host such a sporting event in France, it is going to be an incredible party,” he added.
In the other categories at the Top 14 awards ceremony, Dupont’s Toulouse boss Ugo Mola won the prize for the Coach of the Season and Pau’s 20-year-old centre Emilien Gailleton claimed the Breakthrough Player of the Year award.
He finished the season as the Top 14’s leading scorer and was part of France’s training squad for the World Cup.