Former number 9 of the XV de la Rose, Danny Care remembered the first time he had met a young Frenchman named Antoine Dupont.
Since the road inflicted by the XV of France at Twickenham (10-53), the English no longer hesitate to ignite for Antoine Dupont. “It’s Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zinedine Zidane at the same time”thus struck Matt Dawson.
Asked in the OffLoad podcast, Danny Care also said all the good things he thought of the Blues playing master. “He’s on another planet, really. He plays a different sport than us, the other n°9s”admits the former scrum-half of the XV de la Rose (84 selections), triple winner of the 6 Nations Tournament (2011, 2016, 2017), and who was notably the holder when the English came to achieve the Grand Slam at the Stade de France in 2016.
“Dupont? He didn’t look like a rugby player.”
Regarding Dupont, Care has a great anecdote, which dates back to January 2015. “I will always remember a match with the Harlequins, in Castres, says the Englishman. It was probably nine or ten years ago now (eight in reality, editor’s note). Before the game, we looked at this scrum-half, and it was just this little guy, who didn’t look like much. He didn’t look like a rugby player. I remember Chris Robshaw telling us: ‘guys, this guy is just out of school, we’re going to do it’. I was there: ‘OK, we put pressure on him’. And after ten minutes he (Dupont) takes a ball, he bounces off Chris Robshaw, fakes Nick Easter and circles Nick Evans before scoring a try between the posts. And Chris Robshaw said, ‘Guys watch out for #9, he’s not bad.’ (laughs). I said to myself: ‘But who is this guy?’. It turns out that it was Antoine Dupont. »
Never judge a book by its cover 🔥 #rugbypassoffload #francerugby pic.twitter.com/ODWLbtWAuY
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 17, 2023
Danny Care refers to this match of the 6th day of the Champions Cup, between Castres and Harlequins (19-47). While the CO was already eliminated, Antoine Dupont, who had turned 18 two months earlier, was indeed the holder. It was during this meeting that he scored his first professional try, playing with seasoned internationals like the English Robshaw or Easton, or the New Zealander Evans. Not quite in the order described by Care in the video above, but whatever. The anecdote of the English n°9 shows how much the native of Lannemezan very quickly won the respect of his opponents.
Antoine Dupont played three seasons in Castres, between 2014 and 2017. It was in March 2017 that he was called up for the first time with the XV of France, by Guy Novès. He will join Stade Toulousain in the summer of 2017 to become a global reference in his position.