Daily Mail

Dupont set to swerve Six Nations for Olympic sevens bid

- By CHRIS FOY Rugby Correspond­ent

AnTOIne Dupont, the darling of French rugby, will miss the Six nations so that he can prepare to play sevens at the Paris Olympics.

Dupont, who played his first match since the World Cup for Toulouse at the weekend, has long spoken of his wish to play sevens at Paris 2024.

The scrum-half could be joined by other members of France’s 15-man set-up: Arthur Vincent, Sekou Macalou and one of Damian Penaud or Louis BielleBiar­rey. Dupont, 27, is expected to play in the World Sevens Series which clashes with the Six nations.

Dupont may confirm his switch to sevens at a press conference on Monday to mark 250 days until the Games, having told French media last year: ‘It’s really something that motivates me.

‘Just doing the Olympics, it’s so incredible, when you’re in front of your TV and you see all the events that follow one another, with this patriotic fervour.

‘It’s not just me who has to agree, my club has to agree too. We have to talk about it with everyone at the table, but my will is there, that’s for sure.’

Flanker Charles Ollivon is the leading candidate to take over the French captaincy in Dupont’s absence.

Meanwhile, england’s imminent coaching reshuffle is leading to uncertaint­y and potential upheaval, as Steve Borthwick puts plans in place for the next four-year World Cup cycle.

After an honourable third-place finish at the World Cup, head coach Borthwick is plotting the path ahead, amid rumours of tension behind the scenes. With

Irishman Felix Jones set to be integrated into the set-up in January, there is a possibilit­y that not one but two assistants may be moving on.

Mail Sport has heard from well-placed sources that Leicester are concerned that new head coach Dan McKellar may yet be coaxed back to Australia to take charge of the Wallabies in place of eddie Jones, who quit earlier this month.

That would reopen a vacancy at Tigers and it is understood that Richard Wiggleswor­th may be tempted to go back, having acted as england’s attack coach.

The impending arrival of Felix Jones — fresh from his second global success with the Springboks — is thought to be causing confusion and doubt about demarcatio­n lines between coaches, as his role has not been defined. It had been assumed that Jones would replace Kevin Sinfield as defence guru, but his attack credential­s are understood to have left Wiggleswor­th unsure of whether the scope of his job could be altered.

 ?? GETTY IMAGES ?? Olympic dream: Dupont wants to play sevens
GETTY IMAGES Olympic dream: Dupont wants to play sevens
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