While waiting for Dupont, the Blues of rugby sevens are launching their season with ambition eight months before the Olympics

Frenchman Jonathan Laugel, during an HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series match, against Kenya, in Singapore, April 8, 2023.

This is not a revised version of Samuel Beckett’s theatrical work, but the menu that awaits the French sevens rugby team: while waiting for Dupont. Eight months before the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (JO), which the star of the French XV should compete with the Septist “cousins”, the Bleues et Bleus du VII are launching their season, Saturday December 2 and Sunday December 3, in Dubai. In the first outing of the World Rugby Sevens Series – the world circuit of the discipline – in the United Arab Emirates, the two teams are pursuing a common objective: to win one of the eight tournaments of the season, in order to approach the Olympics at home.

“We are gold diggersimagined the coach of the Blues, Jérôme Daret, interviewed by The Team. We’re going to have to catch some tournaments. We have the other colors of medals, we made six semi-finals last year… Well, damn! The French team needs to find gold. » Often placed, never winning, its troops aspire to win one of the eight tournaments preceding the Olympics, history of“send a strong signal” to the opponents, and to be able to stay on top of the wave before the Olympic meeting. Both ranked fourth in the world, the French women’s and men’s teams are looking upwards.

“The recent history of rugby sevens shows that at each [édition des] Olympic Games, the team that then dominated the world won »noted the Blue coach, David Courteix, in an interview with Parisian. Fiji were crowned in 2016 and 2021 for men, and Australia and New Zealand for women. “ So the objective for us is to win these Series to reach the position of favorites for the Olympics in Francecontinued the technician. We are on the right track, there are areas where we have caught up with, or even surped, the benchmark nations. » Either New Zealand and Australia for women; where the Argentinians, New Zealanders and Fijians shine among the men.

In silver at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, the French women only aspire to climb one more step. “Since almost the day after Tokyo, they have only had one idea in mind, that is to win the gold medal and this dream is increased tenfold because the deadline is taking place in France”, declared David Courteix to Agence-France-Presse. The coach is not to be outdone, he who has led the women’s VII since 2010 and has seen their progress.

“I hope that the VII will shed light on Antoine’s performances”

Much faster than its cousin XV, rugby sevens consists of two seven-minute halves (ten for the final), where the actions flow. “VII seems to be a sport where the degree of uncertainty is increased, but in reality it is often the best who wins in the end,” insisted David Courteix. “You have to be able to move on, because everything goes extremely fast in rugby sevens, it’s formula 1”, corroborated his counterpart among the men, Jérôme Daret. And seats in the seats are expensive, particularly in this Olympic year.

After Dubai, the World Series will stop in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Madrid, before moving to Paris 2024. During these meetings, players will be keen to shine to ensure a place at the Games. “We all have this goal in mind, it allows us to have an additional desireured Antoine Zeghdar to The Team. It pushes you to surp yourself even more in training. The Games are getting closer, so we are thinking about it more. It’s the dream of each of us. »

A dream shared by Antoine Dupont. Since mid-November, the captain of the XV of France has formalized his desire to participate in the high m of world sport, and will integrate “the group that will prepare for the Olympic Games” from the start of 2024, announced the French Rugby Federation. To adapt to a new discipline and be able to compete in the Vancouver and Los Angeles stages with the VII of France, the Toulouse scrum half will skip the Six Nations Tournament with Fabien Galthié’s XV.

The arrival of the best player in the world 2021 combined with the Olympic year will above all put the spotlight on this booming discipline but with much less popularity than its big brother in the XV. “It gives additional credibility to the discipline to see a player of such notoriety arriveconcluded David Courteix, in The Parisian. I hope that VII sheds some light on Antoine’s performance. » While waiting for Dupont, of course, the two French sevens rugby teams do not intend to sit back and do nothing… Before the arrival of the Pyrenees, from this weekend, in Dubai, Bleues and Bleus aspire to win a first title.

Clement Martel (with AFP)

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