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Watch: Toulouse No9 bags four tries in first game without Dupont

By Josh Raisey
Toulouse's French scrum-half Paul Graou runs with the ball during the French Top 14 rugby union match between Stade Toulousain (Toulouse) and Aviron Bayonnais (Bayonne) at the Ernest-Wallon Stadium in Toulouse, south-western France, on February 3, 2024. (Photo by Lionel BONAVENTURE / AFP) (Photo by LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

Antoine Dupont made quite a statement in his final match for Toulouse against Bayonne at the beginning of the month before he teamed up with the France Sevens squad.

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The former France captain put on a creative masterclass in a 46-26 win, playing in his more unfamiliar role of fly-half.

Toulouse head coach Ugo Mola would have been fearing how his team would cope without the 2021 World Rugby player of the year, particularly with much of his squad with France during the Guinness Six Nations as well.

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The pressure was on Dupont’s half-back partner against Bayonne, Paul Graou, to step up in his absence. That is exactly what the No9 did against Oyonnax on Saturday as he went and bagged four tries at the Stade Ernset-Wallon.

The 26-year-old scrum-half was at centre stage in Toulouse’s 61-24 win, filling the void left by Dupont adroitly.

His quartet of tries showed exactly what he is capable of as well- quick thinking, individual brilliance and support play. His first try looked markedly similar to a Dupont finish, as Graou was on hand to collect a pop from centre Pita Ahki.

It was Garou’s third try that was the most impressive though, as he followed a classy one-handed catch with a grubber kick to seal his hat-trick.

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Take a look at his tries:

It was a performance by Toulouse that leaves them in second place in the Top 14, level on points with leaders Stade Francais, ahead of facing eighth place ASM Clermont Auvergne on Sunday. Stade Francais face fourth place Racing 92 on Saturday at La Defense in the Parisian derby, meaning the top of the table could look very different come the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, Dupont is gearing up to make his France Sevens debut this weekend in the HSBC Vancouver SVNS.

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