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The big switch is 'a little bit scary' for Dupont

SPOTLIGHT: France’s celebrated scrumhalf Antoine Dupont is gearing up for a remarkable year in 2024, driven by his World Cup disappointment and a hunger for new victories.

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The 27-year-old Toulouse star is set to miss the upcoming Six Nations as he prepares to join France’s Sevens programme, with his eyes firmly set on the Paris Olympics.

Speaking candidly about his decision with BBC Radio 5 Live, Dupont shared: “I will have a very busy year, but I love that and I am excited.

It’s very exciting but a little bit scary,” reflecting his anticipation for the challenge ahead. This shift to the Sevens format marks a significant departure from his familiar XV-a-side rugby.

Dupont’s resolve stems from his recent heartbreak in the World Cup, where France, despite being the hosts, were ousted by South Africa in the quarterfinals.

“When you lose a competition you want to do another thing to try to win again,” Dupont explained to BBC Radio 5 Live.

Dupont played a pivotal role in Toulouse’s triumph over Harlequins in the Champions Cup.

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“The Champions Cup is always a special competition for us, and I think we saw the last two weeks that we are very motivated for this competition,” he added.

The transition to Sevens won’t be easy. Dupont last played this format as an Under-18 player.

“The last time [playing Sevens] was U18, I think, but it is the same sport and there are a lot of things similar. I will have to work a lot to be competitive in all the competitions.”

Dupont will participate in Sevens series events in February and March before returning to Toulouse towards the season’s end. He will then switch back to the Sevens programme in time for the July Olympics.

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His dedication to mastering both formats is clear.

“I have a lot of calls with the coach to try to learn some skills, and I will try to learn by watching the game.”

Despite the excitement of the new venture, Dupont admits the difficulty of missing the Six Nations, a staple in the rugby calendar.

“Yes, it’s hard [to miss the Six Nations], but I have to make choices, unfortunately.”

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