In recent years, Antoine Dupont has established himself as the poster boy of French rugby, like Victor Wembanyama in basketball or Kylian Mbappé in soccer. And his new status as a superstar of the oval ball has prompted more and more people to take an interest in his life.
To coincide with the Rugby World Cup in France, we take a closer look at the story of Antoine Dupont through some of the highlights of his career, as well as some amusing details about his personal life that you’ve probably never heard of.
Antoine Dupont: Informations
Date of birth: November 15, 1996
Birthplace: Lannemezan, France
Instagram Account: @antoinedupont9
Size: 1,75m (5.9 ft)
Weight: 82 kg (181 lbs)
Preferred position: Scrum-half (Number 9)
Professional career: 2014 – Today
- Castres Olympique (2014 – 2017)
- Stade Toulousain (2017 – Today)
- French Rugby Team (2017 – Today)
- Top 14 winner (French Championship) (2019, 2021, 2023)
- Champions Cup winner (European Cup) (2021)
- Six Nations Tournament winner (2022)
- World Rugby’s best player (2021)
- EPCR European Player of the Year Award (2021)
- Best player of the Six Nations Tournament (2020, 2022, 2023)
10 Things You Didn’t Know about Antoine Dupont
- Antoine Dupont Voted France’s Favorite Player
Although he inspires calm and self-assurance, Antoine Dupont comes across as funny and particularly likable to the French public. According to a 2021 Odoxa poll, the French scrum-half is France’s favorite rugby player, ahead of openers Jalibert and Ntamack.
And if French fans love him so much, it’s also because of the humility and naturalness he exudes, both on and off the pitch. And this great modesty was perfectly illustrated by the statements he made after being crowned best player in the world in 2021.
Speaking to France Télévision, Antoine Dupont declared that he felt like a blot when he saw his name on this list alongside some of the biggest names in the sport.
- Antoine Dupont is a Business School Graduate
As you’d expect, rugby has played a major role in Antoine Dupont’s life from an early age. But that doesn’t mean that the current captain of the French national team has given up on his studies.
After passing his baccalaureate, where many athletes choose to concentrate on their sport, Antoine decided to embark on a course of higher education. After a few months in a DUT (technical diploma) in physical measurements, he switched to a Staps degree (sports degree), which he followed in parallel with his career at Castres Olympique, before going on to a Master’s degree in Sports Management at the Toulouse School of Management.
Having graduated in 2020, Antoine now devotes 100% of his time to rugby.
- Antoine Dupont Has some Unusual Nicknames
It’s no secret that Antoine Dupont is known as “Toto” to friends, colleagues and the media alike. A simple diminutive of his first name, this affectionate nickname was given to him by his family when he was barely 5 years old.
What we’ve learned more recently is the nickname his teammates in blue have given him. The men of the XV de France have taken to calling their captain “Ministre de l’intérieur” (Minister of the Interior), because of his role as a free electron on the pitch, his vision of the game, but above all, the fact that he often finds himself at the heart of the game – and therefore on the inside.
“Ministre de l’intérieur” and “Toto” are far from the most daring nicknames given to the Toulousain. His former coach at Castres, Christophe Urios, has repeatedly compared him to a “petit taureau furieux” (furious little bull), while the French media often describe him as a “boule de muscles” (ball of muscle).
- Antoine Dupont is France’s most Decorated Individual Rugby Player
Although he still has many years ahead of him, Antoine Dupont already boasts an incredible collective record of achievements, both in blue and at club level. But what sets him apart from his peers is the impressive number of individual awards he has amassed.
The scrum-half of Stade Toulousain and the XV de France has been named Best Player of the 6 Nations Tournament three times, in addition to his title of Best Player of the Year in 2021. Quite simply, he is the most successful French player individually, and only a handful of international rugby players have managed to do better during their careers.
- Antoine Dupont Has a Humanitarian Streak
As we saw earlier, Antoine Dupont is seen as a big-hearted strongman by the vast majority of the French public. And this image doesn’t come from anywhere, as the rugby player also makes a name for himself off the pitch.
Since 2020, the young man has been an ambassador for the 1 Maillot Pour La Vie association. As such, he regularly meets sick children in hospitals to brighten up their daily lives and share a moment with them.
In January 2023, the XV de France captain also joined the Enfoirés troupe, a group of artists and public figures who sing on stage to raise money for the Restos du Cœur charity.
- Antoine Dupont is only the 3rd French Player to be Named World’s Best Player
At the end of a magnificent 2020/2021 season, during which he lifted the Brennus Shield and the European Cup, Antoine Dupont was awarded the highest individual prize in rugby: the title of World Rugby Best Player.
He thus joins the very short list of French players to have won the supreme title, as only two players had achieved it before him. Fabien Galthié, current coach of the XV de France, won in 2002 after a historic Grand Slam with the French national team, and Thierry Dusautoir won in 2011 after an outstanding season with Stade Toulousain and a World Cup final.
- Antoine Dupont is very Close to a Famous French Actor
It’s not unusual for top athletes to rub shoulders with celebrities from other walks of life. And that’s exactly what happened here. Antoine began networking with an actor who had taken to sending him messages of encouragement after each of his matches.
This actor is none other than Jean Dujardin, a living legend of French cinema whose career we looked at in more detail in our article on the best-known French actors.
After numerous interactions on the social networks, the two men met in real life during a visit by Jean Dujardin to Marcoussis. Jean Dujardin was also asked to present the world’s best player Oscar at the Midi Olympique 2022 Oscars ceremony.
Since then, a true friendship has developed between the two men, who have nothing but good things to say about each other. In an interview, Antoine Dupont reflects on his friendship with the actor, saying:
“Sometimes you’re disappointed when you meet your idols. But not this time. […] The man is as good as the actor.”Antoine Dupont
- Antoine Dupont is Already a Rugby Legend
In addition to his string of titles, it’s his performances on the pitch that are the talk of the town. The Stade Toulousain player shows incredible consistency week after week on the pitches of France and Europe.
He has a unique profile that enables him to shine in all systems of play. His exceptional physical qualities and versatility make him the most complete 9 of his generation, equally at ease creating and finishing, defending and attacking.
But it’s not just for his physical qualities that his peers call him a genius. His uncommon vision and understanding of the game mean he’s always one step ahead of his opponents.
Many see him as a player with the potential to become one of the very best. And the least we can say is that he is well on the way to joining the pantheon of the greatest rugby players of all time.
- Antoine Dupont Has his Own Statue at the Musée Grévin
Further cementing his place in the hearts of the French, in May 2023 Antoine Dupont inaugurated his wax statue at the Musée Grévin in Paris, alongside another of our favorite rugby players: Frédéric Michalak, former star of Stade Toulousain and the XV de France.
They join Sébastien Chabal in the exclusive circle of French rugby players with a double in the Grévin Museum.
For his statue, Antoine Dupont was immortalized in the jersey he wore at the 2022 Six Nations Tournament, during which the French national team achieved a historic Grand Slam.
- Antoine Dupont Has a Mind of his Own
Rugby is a dangerous sport, and injuries are legion. Antoine Dupont is no exception to the rule, having already suffered serious injuries that kept him off the field for months at a time.
In 2018, the scrum-half of the XV de France, then aged just 22, suffered a terrible rupture of the cruciate ligaments in his right knee during a match against Ireland. In the aftermath of this serious blow, the Frenchman did not admit defeat and declared that he wanted to come back stronger than ever.
And after an absence of more than six months, that’s exactly what he showed, winning the Top 14 with Stade Toulousain before becoming a key player in the French team’s international successes.
History repeated itself on September 21, when Antoine Dupont was forced off the pitch following a fractured cheekbone sustained in a collision with a Namibian player. But even in pain, our captain never lost his good humor, as he was seen signing autographs in the recovery room after his jaw operation.
We hope this article has helped you learn things you didn’t know about Antoine Dupont’s life. And if you’re a sports fan, take a look at our article dedicated to sports in France.
Translated into English by Sacha