Antoine Dupont will join the French rugby sevens team in preparation for the Paris Olympics in 2024. A choice by the scrum half and captain of the Blues that will deprive him of the VI Nations tournament and the daily life of the French XV will disrupt by Fabien Galthié.
The ax finally fell on Wednesday. As expected, Antoine Dupont will join the France rugby sevens team in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (July 26 – August 11).
Antoine Dupont’s decision to win Olympic gold, if coach Jérôme Daret chooses to trust him, will see him join the French group in January. The scrum half and captain of the France XV will therefore miss the VI Nations Tournament and the summer tour to Argentina with Fabien Galthié’s side.
Lucu and Couilloud promoted by Galthié?
To perfect his integration and his automatisms with the Blues of rugby sevens, Antoine Dupont will participate in stages of the world circuit, in particular in the events of Vancouver (February 23-25) and Los Angeles (March 2-3). In his absence, the staff of the France XV will have to make strong choices.
Maxime Lucu, present at the 2023 World Cup as a substitute for Antoine Dupont, will have a real asset at the VI Nations Tournament if Fabien Galthié decides to trust them. The UBB scrum-half, named as Toulouse’s replacement at the World Cup, could still be associated with his Gironde teammate Matthieu Jalibert. Third in the hierarchy, Baptiste Couilloud was also able to score minutes this fall during the five matches of the Tournament and during the summer tour against the Pumas.
Those who (maybe) leave from further away
After a complicated start to the 2022-2023 season, Baptiste Serin failed to convince Fabien Galthié to trust him for the World Cup in France. But Antoine Dupont’s absence at the start of 2024 could do the Toulon scrum-half’s business. Behind Maxime Lucu and Baptiste Couilloud, the RCT player has enough experience and talent to take advantage of a new opportunity at Blauw-Zwart.
Two other players also risk returning to the French coach’s favor in Antoine Dupont’s absence. In contrast to Baptiste Serin (29 years old), the French staff could then opt for the youth card with Nolann Le Garrec (21 years old) and Léo Coly (24 years old). The scrum halves of Racing and Montpellier have already been called up to prepare one or more matches for the 2023 Tournament and may not be far from the selection when Fabien Galthié launches a new cycle.
Olivon, an obvious captain?
Captain of the XV of France, Antoine Dupont, embraced this role to perfection. Captain ahead of him, Charles Olivon, seems the most legitimate candidate to act as interim in the scrum-half’s absence. First captain of the Blues before the start of the mandate of Fabien Galthié, the third line of Toulon has previously become a loyal lieutenant of Antoine Dupont.
Behind the Olivon option, other French leaders could also take on this captaincy role, pending Dupont’s return. We necessarily think of Anthony Jelonch, who tried this role against Uruguay at the World Cup, or of Grégory Alldritt among the captains of the dressing rooms.
Not bitterly, Galthié promises “the best team” at the tournament
Fabien Galthié had to make do without Antoine Dupont for the first half of 2024 and had not wanted to plan too much during his time at the club. Super Moscato show at RMC in early November. However, the France XV coach will be one of the first to worry as he is the one who will decide on the scrum-half substitutions.
“It’s his decision, it’s up to Antoine Dupont to choose, with the technical management that manages rugby sevens, the France rugby team and the Stade Toulousain, said the Blues boss. I told him his decision would be the right one. ” .”
And to conclude somewhat evasively: “On February 2 in Marseille you have the best team.”
The French XV matches Dupont will miss:
VI Nations Tournament 2024:
France-Ireland: Friday February 2 (9 p.m.) at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille
Scotland-France: Saturday February 10 (3.15pm) in Murrayfield (Edinburgh)
France-Italy: Sunday, February 25 (4 p.m.) at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille
Wales v France: Sunday March 10 (4pm) at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff
France-England: Saturday March 16 (9 p.m.) at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon
Summer tour 2024:
Argentina-France: Saturday July 6
Argentina-France: Saturday July 13