The little moment of floating lasts only a few tenths of a second, makes a crazy effect in the thrilling fans of the XV of France and immediately tends the opposing defenses: those few moments when Antoine Dupont, the scrum half of the Blues and Toulouse Stadium , starts his hook. The best player in the 2020 Six Nations Tournament appears to slow down, balance his weight on his left or right knee and go off like a ball in spotted space to infiltrate the opposing defense.
A signature gesture for the one who will again hold the tricolor jersey this Sunday in Scotland. His hook serves as well to erase an opponent to spin the test, or send a partner like Charles Ollivon against England in February, as to advance his team or escape the opposing pressure. “It’s the one I do about fifteen times per game, which allows me to get out of most complicated situations,” he explained in a documentary broadcast on Canal + in 2018.
This gesture, Antoine Dupont begins to test it on the lawn of Castelnau-Magnoac, a village in the Hautes-Pyrénées where, as a child, he gives his first rounds to players who meet him. “He was small and therefore had to bet on other assets than certain children. So he favored avoidance, describes one of his educators at the time, Laurent Desbets. Even as a kid, this feint was his trademark to surprise others. “
Desbets, also husband of the godmother of the future number 9 of the Blues, sees him every weekend “pass through mouse holes. And he stood out with his hooks. When he was seven-eight years old, during a tournament in Port-la-Nouvelle (Aude), he had formed a fan club that came to follow his matches. It was already impressive to see. “
A gesture that is not only based on pure speed. Picked up (1.74 m for 85 kg), the 24-year-old is a small ball of muscles, able to squirt in an interval as well as the arms of his opponents. “He is very explosive, which allows him to escape the tackles of much larger players,” said David Darricarrère, rear coach during Dupont’s professional debut at Castres. It anticipates the race of the player opposite and gives speed exactly when needed. It makes him hard to catch. “
A gesture that earned him a serious injury in 2018
But in 2018 against Ireland, Antoine Dupont suffered a rupture of the cruciate ligaments of the right knee on one of his hooks. A heavy wound that he heals physically and mentally to chase away the apprehension of retrying his signature gesture on his return.
“With Antoine, we worked to detach his mind from his knee,” describes Olivier Leprêtre, mental trainer for Stade Toulouse. At first it was five on a scale of ten. That is to say, he often thought about it in training and in his daily life. After two sessions, it was ten. For his first resumption match, he didn’t even think about it. It was very fast, because he is an exceptional player who, even young, knows his body very well. “
This Sunday, it is the Scots who will closely monitor the accelerations of the phenomenon. Will he have to renew himself one day by repeating his hook? “Some guys have had a great career on the same feint, slips David Darricarrère. Antoine has the gift of hiding his gesture until the last moment. It makes it very difficult to read. “To the delight of the XV of France.
Article original de: www.leparisien.fr