“I didn’t really know where I was going,” says Antoine Dupont after his successful debut

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 11 minutes ago, Updated now

Antoine Dupont offered Nelson Épée a try, against the British. PATRICK T. FALLON / AFP

The Blues scrum half spoke after the second success of “France 7”, qualified for the quarter-finals of the Los Angeles stage before facing Fiji.

“I continue to learn,” said Antoine Dupont on Saturday, star of the French XV entered this weekend at the world rugby sevens circuit tournament in Los Angeles, with the aim of the Paris Olympic Games this summer (July 26-August 11). Entering the second half of the second group match, Dupont helped the Blues dominate Great Britain (19-12) including a superb kick pass for a corner try from Nelson Épée.

Tell us about your kick for the Nelson Épée test…
Antoine Dupont : It doesn’t happen much here, even we in our system do very little kicking. When it works, everyone says bravo (laughs) but you can’t screw it up because afterwards, the counter can be fatal. It’s true that I may have XV habits. Seeing tight defenses that “rush” leaving spaces within 15 meters, it was an opportunity. The opponents are not used to it, but sometimes neither are the partners! Nelson (Épée) is used to being with me in Toulouse.

What are your feelings about this tournament?
It’s ok for now. We’ll see tomorrow (Sunday), it’s the sequence that weighs. I played 14 minutes in the first match (played in full), that’s fine, I was still fresh, I hope it won’t weigh too much on the matches that will count.

How do you judge your progress at 7?
Every time I am on the field I progress. Afterwards I don’t do daily assessments to know where I am. I continue to learn, to nourish myself, each time I am on the field I analyze by talking with the guys, I continue to familiarize myself with this sport, for the moment it is not going too bad.

“I was excited but also quite a bit apprehensive”

Do you feel the expectations of the media and the public?
I felt it especially in Vancouver (Canada, its first tournament, last week), it was also the curiosity of all the people on the circuit who are not necessarily used to having, in quote, the headliners of the XV try their hand at 7, so they must have wanted to see what I was worth and my motivations. There was a bit of anticipation surrounding it, but I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I already had enough to focus on myself, I was excited but also quite a bit apprehensive because I didn’t really know where I was going, so I focused on myself to be the best possible.

Is the Olympic objective palpable now?
Everyone has it in their sights obviously, then we have enough to concentrate on short-term objectives, Vancouver last weekend, there is the tournament this weekend, there will still be the Asian tour and the Madrid tournament, there are a lot of deadlines before thinking about the Games but obviously everyone has it in their sights.


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