Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack receive huge Olympic honour ahead of Paris Games

Colin Newboult
Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack celebrate after Toulouse's victory over Harlequins in 2024.

Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack celebrate after Toulouse's victory over Harlequins in 2024.

France stars Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack will get the opportunity to carry the Olympic flame ahead of the Paris games.

After combining so well on the field for both club and country they will once again link up on May 17, but this time in a different environment.

They have been selected as two of the torchbearers when it goes through the streets of Toulouse on Friday as the French continue their build-up to the 2024 Olympic Games.

‘Pride and honour’

“The Olympic Games are an incredible event to experience, even if I am not going to participate in them sportingly,” Ntamack told AFP. “Being able to do it on my own small scale, carrying the flame, is a real source of pride and a real honour.”

It will perhaps be even more important for Dupont, who is seeking to go one step further than Ntamack and represent his country in Paris.

The global superstar wants to play in the sevens tournament at the Olympics and has already taken his first foray into the shorter form of the game.

He featured in two legs of the World Rugby SVNS series in February and March, with France claiming their first title in 19 years in Los Angeles.

Dupont has since returned to play XVs, but he will hope to have a similar impact when he returns to sevens at the conclusion of Toulouse’s campaign.

Ntamack has very much backed his team-mate to be a success in Paris and has had no thoughts himself of taking up the sport.

“Antoine has the qualities and abilities to be able to switch sports very quickly. Because rugby sevens still remains a different sport from ours,” the fly-half said.

“There are not 50 XV players who are going to do it. I think I’ll be happy on my couch cheering him on.”

‘I didn’t know what I was getting into’ – Antoine Dupont on the brutality of sevens

Adapting to sevens

Following the 27-year-old’s second tournament, which saw him play a key role in their triumph in the USA, Dupont revealed how demanding sevens was on the body.

“I didn’t know what I was getting into by doing two tournaments, especially with the three Saturday matches with getting up at 6am and returning at 9:30pm,” he told reporters in March.

“These are very stiff days. I was able to test myself in all conditions, play very big matches, have playing time. And now, I will have a good week to rest.

“This sport is incredible. Physical ability has a huge impact, as does the ability to not give up. We saw it against Ireland when we caught the last guy (who would have touched down under the posts), which makes them score in the corner and causes them to miss the conversion.”

Dupont has also decided to take a backseat from a leadership point of view. Despite his standing in the world game in XVs, the star scrum-half said that it would be remiss of him to be barking orders while so inexperienced in sevens.

“My role is that of a team player. Besides, I’m learning, I’m not going to make big speeches when it’s only my second tournament. These are high-level athletes and players who are preparing for these events,” he added.

“I felt a lot of relaxation, desire and motivation to leave with this gold medal. It was a strong objective for the group. They’ve been chasing it for a while.”

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