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Antoine Dupont assigns Euro masterclass to one skill learned in sevens

By Josh Raisey
Jack Willis of Stade Toulousain celebrates victory as he applauds the fans after defeating Leinster Rugby in extra time during the Investec Champions Cup Final match between Leinster Rugby and Stade Toulousain at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 25, 2024 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Everyone knew Antoine Dupont would be influential in the Investec Champions Cup final, but few would have expected that his jackaling would be the deciding factor in Toulouse’s 31-22 win over Leinster at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

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The Toulouse captain came away from the match with four turnovers to his name, some of which were in the most important areas of the field at the most important times.

Those are breakdown stats by the scrum-half that any flanker would be proud of, as he scooped the player of the match award.

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Dupont already had nine turnovers in the competition going into the match, putting him in the top five, but he really did exemplify what an asset he is at the breakdown.

This is a skill that the Frenchman has put down to his time playing sevens this year. Dupont is set to return to the HSBC SVNS circuit this week after a barnstorming start to his career in the seven-player format, and his decision is increasingly looking like it is benefitting everyone involved.

Match Summary

5
Penalty Goals
8
1
Tries
1
1
Conversions
1
0
Drop Goals
0
184
Carries
113
5
Line Breaks
5
18
Turnovers Lost
16
8
Turnovers Won
12

As great as he has been for sevens thus far, the game has clearly given him a lot as well.

“It’s not something that I really targeted,” he said after the match when talking about his jackaling. “But playing in sevens, the rucks are really important. It’s an asset that I’ve gained from the sevens.”

These were the contributions that Dupont’s coach Ugo Mola believes ultimately decided the match. Dupont was not alone in producing a jackaling masterclass, with flanker Jack Willis chipping in with a few of his own in what was a titanic defensive display from the Englishman.

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Toulouse almost doubled Leinster’s turnover count in their extraordinary defensive effort, which Mola said “made the difference”.

“They were really precious turnovers near our line,” he said when looking back on Dupont’s interventions.

“In this defensive aspect, we wanted to be really intense.

Another surprise jackaler was fly-half Romain Ntamack, who proved to be a dab hand at the dark arts himself, particularly in the first 40.

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In a game where he said Toulouse “didn’t manage to use the ball properly” they needed to put their bodies on the line against wave after wave of Leinster attack.

“We managed to catch them, jackal balls that were really important for us,” the fly-half said when looking back on Toulouse’s scramble defence.

“I cannot remember the team or myself putting in such a defensive performance, we showed a lot of solidarity.”

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Comments

4 Comments
B
Barry 27 days ago

A scrum half with 4 turnovers!? Different gravy.

N
Nool 28 days ago

Nienaber must start with their attitudes. Humbleness first. Then trophies will Come. Over time JN will show them the way to trophies. Shake off the arrogance and do the needful on the field

J
JPM 29 days ago

And Ugo Mola outsmarted Nienaber and Cullen.

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