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France poised to confirm Antoine Dupont will miss 2024 Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Ramos/World Rugby via Getty Images)

France skipper Antoine Dupont will miss the 2024 Guinness Six Nations in order to prepare to represent his country at the Olympic Games next July. The scrum-half battled a mid-tournament cheekbone fracture to captain Les Bleus in their Rugby World Cup quarter-final loss to South Africa last month.

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The birthday-celebrating 27-year-old is now back at Toulouse where he made his first appearance of the Top 14 season off the bench in their win over Perpignan last Saturday.

It has since emerged that instead of rejoining the Fabien Galthie Test-level set-up ahead of a Six Nations that will begin with a fixture in Marseille in February against Ireland, Dupont will instead play for the French men’s sevens team on the revamped HSBC SVNS circuit ahead of the Olympics.

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A newswire report read: “France captain Antoine Dupont will sit out this season’s Six Nations to prepare for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris less than a year after the disappointment of an early World Cup exit, the French rugby federation (FFR) told AFP on Wednesday.

“Dupont, 27, will miss the competition held between February 2-March 16 next year in order to participate in legs of the World Rugby seven-a-side circuit, now known as SVNS. His club Toulouse, the FFR and Dupont are set to hold a press conference on Monday, 250 days from the start of the Games, when they are expected to announce Dupont’s intentions.

“Dupont will join France’s sevens squad in January before SVNS events in Vancouver, Canada, on February 23-24 and Los Angeles on March 2-3. Scrum-half Dupont’s most recent 15-a-side appearance for France was last month’s agonising World Cup quarter-final defeat to eventual winners South Africa at the Stade de France.

“The stadium in northern Paris will also host next July’s sevens competitions, for men and women, in the Games. As far back as last December, Dupont opened the door to playing in the event, which first featured in the Olympics in 2016.

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“It’s highly motivating,” Dupont told RTL at the time. “It’s incredible when you see the enthusiasm it can create. There is a desire from my side to put things in place for me to participate. It will be a discussion between the different coaching staffs,” he added.

The AFP report continued: “A host of other leading 15-a-side players have featured at past Olympic Games including South Africa winger Cheslin Kolbe and former New Zealand centre Sonny Bill Williams, who have both won the World Cup twice.

“Fiji have won the two men’s gold medals since seven-a-side rugby was introduced into the Olympics with the longer format of the sport having last featured in 1924. Dupont’s France football counterpart, the Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe, is also keen to take part in the Games on home soil.

“The absence of Dupont in the Six Nations will force France head coach Fabien Galthie to name a new captain and starting scrum-half for the Six Nations, which they start against Ireland on February 2.”

  • Click here to learn everything about the newly revamped HSBC SVNS Series
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4 Comments
G
GrandDisse 246 days ago

That will give him a break after several very long seasons, a new challenge after the world cup disappointment, and for France XV the opportunity to build depth and give more game time to other players (and between Lucu, Couilloud, Serin, Le Garrec, Jauneau, … there is a lot of people in the queue).
Not a bad move overall, except perhaps for Toulouse..

P
PutMeInCoach 246 days ago

No doubt Dupont in sevens will be exciting to watch. Getting my Vancouver tickets!

J
Jon 247 days ago

good for him - he needs some actual competition and FRA need to develop another scrumhalf

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Shaylen 3 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

These guys will be utility players Nick it cannot be helped because coaches cannot help themselves. Rassie looks at players like these and sees the ability to cover multiple positions without losing much. It allows the 6-2 or 7-1. He wont change his coaching style or strategy for one player. At provincial level players like these are indispensable. If there is an injury to your starting 12 but your back up 12 is a bit iffy then a coach is going to go with the back up 10 who is gold and who can play a good 12. Damian Willemse for the Springboks is an obvious case, for the Stormers its the same. Dobson plays him at 12 or 15, with Gelant in the team he plays 12 but if Gelant goes down he doesnt go for his back up 15, he just puts Willemse there. With Frawley its the same at international and provincial level. He just slots in wherever. Frans Steyn made a career out of it. He was much maligned though as a youngster as he never fully developed into any role. He then went to Japan and France to decide for himself what kind of player he was, put on muscle and retained his big boot, ran over players and booted the ball long and came back into the Springboks after about 3 years away and was then certain about how he wanted to play the game no matter what position. Coaches cannot help themselves because they only want what is best for their teams and that means putting your most talented players on even if it means you cause them some discomfort. Sometimes players need to decide how they want to play the game and then adapt that to every position and let the coach decide how they want to use them.

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J
Jon 9 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

I think the main problem here is the structure of both countries make up. They are going to have very similar.. obstacles(not problems). It will just be part of the evolution of their rugby and they’ll need to find a way to make this versatility more advantageous than specialization. I think South Africa are well on the way to that end already, but Ireland are more likely to have a hierarchical approach and move players around the provinces. Ioane is going to be more than good enough to lock up one of those available positions for more than a few years I believe though. Morgan would definitely be a more long term outlook. Sacha to me has the natural footwork of a second five. Not everything is about winning, if a team has 3 players that want to play 10s just give them all a good go even if its to the detriment of everyone, this is also about dreams of the players, not just the fans. This is exactly how it would be in an amateur club setting. Ultimately some players just aren’t suited to any one position. The example was of a guy that had size and speed, enough pace to burn, power to drive, and speed to kick and pass long, but just not much else when it came to actual rugby (that matched it). New Zealand has it’s own example with Jordie Barrett and probably shows what Reece Hodge could have been if the game in Australia had any administration. Despite the bigger abundance of talent in NZ, Jordie was provided with consistent time as a fullback, before being ushered in as a second five. Possibly this was due to his blood, and another might not have been as fortunate, but it is what it was, a complete contrast to how Hodge was used in Australia, were he could have had any position he wanted. When it comes down to it though, much like these young fellas, it will be about what they want, and I think you’ll find they’ll be like Hodge and just want to be as valuable to the team as they can and play wherever. It’s not like 63 International Cap is a hard thing to live with as a result of that decision!

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