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Exciting but tricky SVNS challenge awaits Dupont and Hooper

SPOTLIGHT: The competition for Olympics spots will be far from easy for  Michael Hooper and Antoine Dupont, World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin admitted.

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Australia veteran Michael Hooper and France World Cup star Antoine Dupont have opted to switch from the 15-a-side code to SVNS to take part in the 2024 Olympics.

Dupont will miss the Six Nations as he bids for Olympic Gold at the Stade de France – the venue where the Springboks eliminated Les Blues in the quarterfinal of the World Cup back in October.

While the star scrumhalf will seek redemption in front of his home fans, for Hooper, the tournament is a chance to return to the global stage after his World Cup omission by Eddie Jones.

Speaking to reporters at the HSBC SVNS Cape Town, World Rugby CEO Alan Gilpin said it is exciting to have players like Hooper and Dupont wanting to join the circuit.

“It is a great moment for SVNS if you got those sort of globally renowned players wanting to part of the journey,” Gilpin said at the DHL Stadium, adding: “Particularly wanting to part of the Olympics.

“And that is a great benefit that sevens have the Olympics. It is a way of attracting talent and fans.”

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Gilpin warned the duo of the challenge they would face in making the respective Olympic squad.

Both players missed the Dubai and Cape Town leg of the series and only have six tournaments to adapt to the nuances of the code and their teams’ dynamics.

“The bar is pretty high for the two of them to try to compete for places particularly how France and Australia have been playing,” Gilpin said.

“But they do bring a lot of excitement and interest.

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“Dupont in particular is such a superstar in France and the idea that he can play in home Olympics is great for the sports.”

The next HSBC SVNS tournament is in Perth on January 26, 2024.

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