France captain Antoine Dupont will likely miss the entirety of the 2024 Six Nations as he prepares to switch formats ahead of the Paris Olympics.
The scrum-half has long held a desire to compete in the Olympics and, with the competition being hosted in the French capital, the scrum-half looks set to play rugby sevens.
Joining the squad in January
A press conference is set to be held on Monday which will reveal his full plans, and it is expected that Dupont will join up with the France sevens squad in January.
There is a tournament in Australia during that month, but his first outing in the shorter form of the game could be in Canada in late February before the series heads to the United States in March.
“It’s highly motivating,” Dupont told RTL last December about his desire to play in the Olympics.
“It’s incredible when you see the enthusiasm it can create. There is a desire from my side to put things in place for me to participate.
“It will be a discussion between the different coaching staffs.”
Dupont was named Six Nations Player of the Championship in 2023 and 2022 and has claimed the award in three of the past four seasons.
Despite France failing to defend their title in ’23 – with Ireland winning the Grand Slam – the scrum-half once again excelled for Les Bleus.
Losing the 27-year-old would be a blow for head coach Fabien Galthie, who will be looking to get his side back on the right path following their Rugby World Cup disappointment.
Also affecting Toulouse
Toulouse will also be hampered, with him potentially missing over half of their season, but the club have been very understanding over Dupont’s position.
“I can understand why Antoine, at 26 and after three French championships, a European Cup, a [Six Nations] Grand Slam and – I hope! – a World Cup, would want to play in the Olympics in France,” head coach Ugo Mola said in June 2023.
“Antoine, Christophe Reigt and Jerome Daret and I have been talking. The Federation seems open [to it], as do the league and our president, too. All the indicators are green.
“But there are other details to sort out, because a large part of the player’s wages are paid by the club.
“We’re getting ready to spend half a season or a full season without him.”