France skipper Antoine Dupont admits that he is taking a risk by changing to the shorter form of the game in preparation for the Paris Olympics.
The star scrum-half has announced that he will be taking a break from the 15-a-side game to focus on sevens in 2024.
Although the 27-year-old obviously has the talent to succeed, the outstanding playmaker concedes that it may take time to adjust.
Taking on the challenge
“It’s also the challenge side that I liked because, in the end, I’m going to put myself in danger since I’m going to change disciplines, work with guys who have been doing this for years while I haven’t played it for a long time,” he told Bros in an interview with football great Thierry Henry.
“That’s what I liked: putting myself in danger with a new experience with a huge goal at the end but which can be so beautiful! I told myself that I had to at least try to put things in place to give myself the means to participate.”
It is not just the fact that it is in Paris which is driving Dupont but also the opportunity to compete at an Olympic Games, with France failing to qualify for the last competition.
“The fact that it’s in Paris is a plus but, with rugby, we don’t have the Olympic culture,” he said.
“The first time was in 2016. In 2021, the French didn’t qualify. This is an opportunity that I probably wouldn’t have another time in my life to be able to try to participate.”
Dupont has gone with the blessing of both his club and country as the scrum-half looks to add to his extensive trophy cabinet.
The half-back has earned plenty of individual accolades, while with Toulouse he has won both the Champions Cup and Top 14.
He has also achieved plenty in the blue of France, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and beating every tier one nation in the space of a year.
The French missed out on glory at the recent Rugby World Cup, but Dupont will hope to partially make up for that by claiming Olympic gold.
“It remains an incredible event. We all have memories where we watch the 100m finals, the swimming finals, because we had French people who won,” he added.
“We all had memories of the Olympic Games that left their mark on us. To think that you can participate, with your sport, in this ultimate competition…”