Dupont off to chase SVNS glory after Toulouse triumph

Sun, May 26, 2024, 1:51 AM
by AFP
Antoine Dupont turns his focus towards Sevens after guiding Toulouse to the Champions Cup title. Photo: AFP
Antoine Dupont turns his focus towards Sevens after guiding Toulouse to the Champions Cup title. Photo: AFP

Antoine Dupont will switch back to sevens rugby next weekend, Toulouse coach Ugo Mola said Saturday after the scrum half was named 'man of the match' for guiding his club to Champions Cup victory over Leinster.

Dupont, France's regular 15-a-side captain, wants to win gold with his country in the Paris Olympics.

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He made his sevens debut for France in Vancouver in February, part of the World Rugby SVNS Series that concludes next weekend with the finals in Madrid. 

"Antoine is leaving for Madrid on Monday. We'll be celebrating our European title while he goes and eats some tapas," said Mola after Toulouse beat Leinster 31-22 in extra time at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

In the SVNS Series event in Los Angeles in March, Dupont helped France to their first victory on the sevens circuit since 2005. 

Dupont has been freed to play in Madrid from May 31 to June 2, because, with two rounds of the regular season to play, Toulouse are assured of finishing in the first two in the Top 14 and have locked up a bye to the semi-finals.

Toulouse captain Dupont praised his side's mental strength for inspiring a mammoth defensive effort in a dramatic extra-time 31-22 victory.

French giants Toulouse had averaged 6.6 tries and over 44 points per game in the competition this season on their way to Saturday's showpiece match at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

But it was defence that was the foundation of their record-extending sixth Champions Cup final triumph.

Toulouse made 242 tackles to their opponents' 137 across two gruelling hours of rugby, with Leinster completing an unwanted hat-trick of defeats after losing both the 2022 and 2023 Champions Cup finals to another French club, La Rochelle.

"The feeling is a great joy," player-of-the-match Dupont told reporters.

"There are feelings and emotions that are hard to put into words."

The 27-year-old France star, already regarded as an all-time great scrum-half, added: "We've worked so hard... Extra time is crunch time, money time, and you shouldn't ask questions, just get your head down and do what you need to do. 

"You win the game mentally."