Antoine Dupont (Toulouse): “We feel we have the potential to win again”

Antoine Dupont (Toulouse): “We feel we have the potential to win again”
Antoine Dupont (Toulouse): “We feel we have the potential to win again”

Does your success in the group stage against these same Harlequins (19-47) last December give you a lot of confidence before this semi-final?
Not necessarily because a lot has happened since then. Harlequins are scoring a lot of tries today. I believe that they learned from this defeat at home, and we know that in the final phase, the teams manage to have an extra spirit and raise their level of play. We therefore expect more to face the team that beat UBB in the quarter-finals (41-42), rather than the one we played in December.

“We stopped several times at this stage of the competition, we know the disappointment that represents”

Antoine Dupont, captain of Stade Toulousain

What flavor does this new semi-final have for you?
It’s always a lot of fun and excitement to enter this final square. It rewards the work accomplished throughout the season, but if we stop there, it will have been for nothing. We stopped several times at this stage of the competition, we know the disappointment that represents. This season, we put ourselves in the best position by receiving in the semi-finals. We really hope to go one step further.

How do you feel about your team on the eve of this shock?
Good, relaxed, confident. Vigilant, too. We watched images all week of Harlequins and we saw that they were very dangerous with the ball in hand. There are players to watch almost everywhere on the pitch. We know that we will have to play a very serious match in defense if we want to hope for anything.

How do you deal with the enormous competition in your workforce?
What we are experiencing is what the players have always experienced at Stade Toulousain. When we look at the squad at the Stadium at times when it was winning a lot, we see that there were also internationals, who were substitutes or in the stands. There has always been positive emulation in this club. Everyone wants to get a place on the field, but places are expensive, so you have to maintain a high level of play to get them. This is what is happening in our workforce. As soon as a guy is put on the scoresheet, he puts himself at the level of the team, of the group, and that pushes the others to also raise their level.

“This potential is only verified when you lift a trophy”

Antoine Dupont, captain of Stade Toulousain

Your generation has already won a lot, but has it already made enough of an impact on the club’s history?
No, because we feel we have the potential to win again. We won a few titles, but we lost some too. We have more experience than a few years ago, with almost the same players, plus others, who have joined us with a lot of qualities, we feel that we have the capacity to win again. But this potential is only verified when you lift a trophy.

In the semi-finals against UBB, the Quins showed that they knew how to be formidable in the scrum and on carried balls…
When we arrive at this stage of the competition, we are complete in all sectors. You don’t win as many matches if you just play balls everywhere. Harlequins also have a very effective kicking game, an experienced center, a conquering forward pack. They are good in the ground game, have a good touch, they are a really very complete team. We will therefore have to be strong on the fundamentals before talking about the game.

Do you plan to do any individual marking on Marcus Smith?
Individual, no, but collective, yes. Like all dangerous players, especially in such a strategic position, Smith is capable of making differences individually but also of putting his partners in the gaps. We will therefore have to be connected in his area and not throw ourselves at him, because that could open doors for others. It will be more collectively that we will have to be in place. »

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