Paris 2024 Olympics: “He doesn’t know much about rugby sevens, so…” The story of Antoine Dupont’s first steps with the French Olympic team

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The star scrum-half was in Marcoussis (Essonne) on Wednesday, January 3, for the first contact with his future teammates, with whom he is called up to compete in the Olympic tournament during the Olympic Games in France (26 July-11 August).

Six months before the start of the Paris Olympic Games, star scrum half of the French XV team Antoine Dupont began his Olympic adventure by attending his first training session with the French rugby sevens team in Marcoussis on Wednesday 3 January.

Under changing weather conditions at the French Rugby Federation’s national headquarters in Essonne, Antoine Dupont struggled to find his way with the rugby sevens and the 15 other players coach Jérôme Daret had called for this preparation course. “We are very happy to welcome Antoine. This is very positive for the group,” said Paulin Riva, captain of the French Sevens team, after the session.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.
AFP – FRANCK FIFE

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The captain of the France XV, who arrived in Marcoussis on Tuesday evening, will stay only on Wednesday, along with other septists who will continue this first training course of the year until Friday. After a series of burpees performed to the cheers of his team-mates, a mandatory ritual for every new player in the France group, the Stade Toulouse scrum half took part in various exercises of the session, ratcheting up the discussions with his partners and the selector. .

?? Look who’s there?

First training with the Blues #France7, @Dupont9A was welcomed by his new teammates this morning! ?? pic.twitter.com/lgtQc76Y9Z

— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) January 3, 2024

“Very careful”

“He’s just arrived and doesn’t know much about Sevens rugby, so he was very careful,” Agen and French Sevens player Jefferson Lee Joseph said. “I think we need to reassure everyone who enters the group that they are there to answer all questions, because this is a discipline that requires a lot of sensitivity and has its own characteristics,” Paulin Riva added.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.
AFP – FRANCK FIFE

Also read:
Paris 2024 Olympics: Antoine Dupont called up with the French 7s team for the first time

Antoine Dupont was very diligent in keeping possession of the ball, always under the watchful eye of his partners, especially practicing return kicks as well as positioning on the backs typical of rugby sevens. “I already found him very comfortable,” commented Jérôme Daret after training.

?? Today, @Dupont9A He met his new teammates from the team #France7 !

??? ??????̀??? ??????́? He will be seen in the video with his new team! ??? pic.twitter.com/Xc5MthC6HA

— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) January 3, 2024

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“A player who comes to reveal himself gets out of his comfort zone and wants to fight.” If the former Dax scrum half has “no concerns” about Antoine Dupont adapting to his team’s tactics, the challenge will be “getting him to take on the workload and orient himself to what the demands of rugby sevens are”. “There are differences in the physical aspect compared to rugby union.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.
AFP – FRANCK FIFE

“Antoine has all the skills to be in this game in terms of speed, but we have to gradually make him able to support this load,” he elaborated.

One internship per month

To achieve this, the staff of the French Sevens team will work in collaboration with Stade Toulouse and the 27-year-old scrum half will come and train with the France group “about once a month” until the final tournament of the scheduled world circuit season. For Madrid (May 31 – June 2), where the French national team will participate.

Also read:
“Antoine was under too much pressure…” Romain Ntamack looks at the management of Dupont’s injury during the Rugby World Cup

Dupont, who will skip the Six Nations Tournament, will play in two more stages of the world rugby sevens tour in Vancouver (23-25 ​​February) and Los Angeles (2-3 March) in addition to training sessions. “Antoine Dupont is an excellent player, both in terms of dueling skills and speed.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.

Antoine Dupont here in Marcoussis with the French rugby sevens team on Wednesday 3 January.
AFP – FRANCK FIFE

Now it’s up to us to make the most of him, integrate him into our game project and make him shine for the French team, which, like the new recruit, dreams of winning the Olympic gold medal at the Stade de France this summer.

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