Antoine Dupont steps down from rugby union following Champions Cup final with Toulouse - Ruck

Antoine Dupont steps down from rugby union following Champions Cup final with Toulouse

Antoine Dupont will return to sevens rugby next weekend, Toulouse coach Ugo Mola confirmed on Saturday, after the scrum-half was named ‘man of the match’ for leading his club to Champions Cup victory over Leinster.

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Dupont, who regularly captains France’s 15-a-side team and is widely regarded as the best rugby player in the world, has his sights set on winning gold at the Paris Olympics.

He debuted in sevens rugby for France in Vancouver this February, during the World Rugby SVNS Series, which concludes next weekend with the finals in Madrid.

“Antoine is leaving for Madrid on Monday. We’ll be celebrating our European title while he goes and eats some tapas,” said Mola, following Toulouse’s 31-22 extra-time win over Leinster at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

In the SVNS Series event in Los Angeles this March, Dupont played a key role in helping France secure their first sevens circuit victory since 2005.

Dupont has been granted leave to compete in Madrid from May 31 to June 2, as Toulouse, with two rounds left in the regular season, have secured a top-two finish in the Top 14, ensuring a bye to the semi-finals.

Antoine Dupont named the best rugby player in the world, Maro Itoje 8th

In the ever-evolving landscape of rugby excellence, distinguishing the crème de la crème is no small feat. As the echoes of thunderous scrums and dazzling tries reverberate across the globe, RUCK proudly presents its definitive list of the 20 Best Rugby Players in the World. 

#20. Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)

A powerhouse winger, van der Merwe’s size and speed make him a lethal attacking threat. His ability to break tackles and finish tries, combined with his strong defensive efforts, adds a dynamic edge to Scotland’s backline.

Duhan van der Merwe of Scotland Rugby goes over for a try and celebrates during the Six Nations Rugby match between Wales and Scotland at Principality Stadium on February 3, 2024 in Cardiff, Wales. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

#19. Finn Russell (Scotland)

A creative playmaker at fly-half, Russell’s flair and innovative decision-making set him apart. His precise passing and daring attacking kicks often unlock opportunities for Scotland. His presence ensures an unpredictable and exciting dimension to the team’s game.

#18. Jordie Barrett (New Zealand)

A versatile back, Barrett’s impressive boot, aerial skills, and positional awareness offer versatility to the All Blacks. His ability to play fullback, wing, or center, coupled with his goal-kicking prowess, makes him a valuable asset to the New Zealand squad.

#17. Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

A tenacious openside flanker, van der Flier’s work rate and breakdown prowess are his standout traits. His relentless tackling and ability to secure turnovers make him a vital component of Ireland’s defensive efforts and breakdown strategies.

#16. Aaron Smith (New Zealand

Smith is a standout New Zealand rugby union scrum-half. Known for his lightning-fast passes and tactical prowess, he has been instrumental for the All Blacks and the Highlanders. Smith’s leadership and skill have solidified his reputation as one of rugby’s premier scrum-halves.

#15. Will Jordan (New Zealand)

An exciting fullback/winger, Jordan’s speed and finishing ability make him a try-scoring machine. His support play and elusive running lines exploit defensive gaps. His presence adds a dynamic edge to the All Blacks’ attacking strategies.

#14. Tadhg Beirne (Ireland)

Beirne’s versatility as a lock and back-row player elevates Ireland’s options. His athleticism, lineout skills, and aggressive breakdown work set him apart. An asset in both set pieces and open play, he consistently impacts the game.

#13. Scott Barrett (New Zealand)

A robust lock/flanker, Barrett’s physicality and tireless work ethic make him an asset to New Zealand’s forward pack. His lineout expertise and powerful ball-carrying contribute to the All Blacks’ dominance in set pieces and loose play.

#12. Damian Penaud (France)

Penaud’s flair as a center/winger adds a creative dimension to France’s backline. His ability to break tackles and create scoring opportunities, combined with his defensive resolve, makes him a crucial player in France’s strategies.

#11. Lukhanyo Am (South Africa)

Am’s skillful play at center bolsters the Springboks’ backline. His defensive prowess, distribution, and ability to create space for teammates highlight his versatility. A player who combines finesse with physicality on the field.