This Saturday night, Antoine Dupont had a great performance against Bayonne during Toulouse’s victory (46-26). The demonstration adds to the frustration of not seeing him wear the France XV jersey during the 2024 Six Nations Tournament.
It was around 19:45 this Saturday evening when Antoine Dupont got off the bus and walked through the crowd on the Ernest-Wallon side. Pretty usual arrival, so almost. Just under twenty-four hours earlier, the Blues, orphans of their captain, faced Ireland at the Orange Vélodrome in Marseille. So although we prepared for it, the reality hit us hard. France’s top player was preparing for Championship Day in February with his club, while the 6-nation tournament had just started the day before. Hard to believe, but very real.
First of all, as you must have understood, all the discussions around the Toulouse lair had the same theme. And while hundreds of analyzes were woven together to try to explain the French debacle in the city of Marseille, “Toto” basked in his favorite garden.
Service from elsewhere
The Haut-Garonne captain played with ten on his back in the face of rowing. A special evening, a special number, one might say. With numerous absences affecting the red and black backline – because yes, it really was a doubles weekend – Antoine Dupont has been linked with Paul Graou in tow. It took him about twenty minutes to show up. After a failed attempt at a post-contact pass from Pita Ahki, the native of Haut-Pyrénées got hold of the ball and left the Bayonne defense there to level between the posts. The first spark that called for more.
Just seconds later, the former Castres managed to block a kick from Cheikh Tiberghien before delighting his home crowd with an exceptional chister for Ahki. The New Zealand center just had to get the job done. Great art, but how can you not be honestly frustrated? Why wasn’t this guy on the Marseille pitch against the green giants? A week ago, Dupont admitted that he had not yet found a solution to the split. Honestly, we are going to search with him.
In any case, we benefit from genius on the Toulouse side: “I really don’t know what to say anymore, admits Alexandre Roumat. I am both a teammate, but also a spectator of all his antics. His pass to Ahki, only he could imagine it and execute it to perfection. » Opinion is divided on Arthur Retièr’s side: “Rugby is easier when you have him in your team. When he has the ball, the goal is to stick him close because he can pull something out of nowhere and make the difference. Of course, we are very happy when he is there and gives us such gifts. »
Speaking of gifts, the Toulouse winger must have been thinking about the final action of the match. With the reigning French champions needing a seventh attempt to claim the attacking bonus, “Super Dupont” decided to take matters into their own hands. A routine scrum from his camp saw him half break through the Basque defense to leap several tens of meters before serving his winger Setareki Bituniyat. Moments later he is served again and decides to distill a pass for Mallia from elsewhere. Masterclass and a five-point victory, what could be better? Even Camille Lopez could only see the damage: “Even though he didn’t really play his position, I wasn’t really worried about him. He proved again that he is simply the best player in the world. »
The irony of Hugo Mola
A few seconds after the final whistle, Ugo Mola preferred to play irony. Asked on Canal + about his captain’s performance, the stadium manager had this to say: “For a young guy who plays doubles, I hope he won’t be there (at the club) for long and that one day he can play a bit higher (in the French team)” Sense of humor.
Earlier in the week, Antoine Dupont will join the French sevens team to prepare for the Olympics. He should soon participate in two stages of the circuit, in Vancouver (February 23) and Los Angeles (March 2). We have a decision to make, but we went to bed this Saturday night feeling that we had been deprived of the best player on the planet against XV du Trèfle and that it would be that way throughout the tournament. Adventure can be beautiful for a kid from Castelnau-Magnoac or even spectacular at the Olympics. However, at the moment it causes a frustration that cannot be measured, it is so huge.