Dupont wants Toulouse to retain 'spontaneity' in Champions Cup final

rugby24 May 2024 17:36| © AFP
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Antoine Dupont © Gallo Images

Toulouse captain Antoine Dupont has urged his side to keep faith with their attacking game when they face fellow European heavyweights Leinster in Saturday's Champions Cup rugby final.

Toulouse, already the record five-time champions of Europe, have been the team of this season's tournament, averaging over six tries per match on their way to this weekend's showpiece game in London.

France scrum-half star Dupont is the cornerstone of an impressive back division also featuring test teammate Romain Ntamack at fly-half.

But finals can often be cagey affairs and Leinster – themselves four-time European champions – boast a wealth of Ireland international talent in both attack and defence.

Dupont told a pre-match press conference on Friday: "It's still a special game, in a special venue, in a special context. Still, we should keep our trademark spontaneity."

South Africa's World Cup-winning coach Jacques Nienaber is now a member of Leinster's backroom staff, with the Dublin-based side looking to go one better after losing the last two Champions Cup finals to La Rochelle.

Nienaber oversaw a Springbok side at last year's World Cup in France that won their quarterfinal, semifinal and the final itself by a point – a run culminating with captain Siya Kolisi lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy after a 12-11 victory over arch-rivals New Zealand.

"They went for him (Nienaber) to get his experience of knockout stages, of important games," said Dupont, a member of a France side edged out 29-28 by South Africa in an epic quarterfinal.

"We focused on ourselves while adapting to this team whose game changed a bit but that is still the simple things very well, as usual.

"Their attacking game, with this capacity to hold the ball for a while, good and fast rucks, a quality kicking game – they kept all this while trying to get a new approach defensively."

Saturday's match is being played at the home of Premier League football club Tottenham, with Dupont saying: "The stadium is quite impressive. There's not much rugby played here. The size of the pitch is peculiar, with a very small (in-goal) area and tight touchlines."

But with the stadium boasting a capacity of over 60 000, the 27-year-old playmaker added: "We have to enjoy those moments, to experience a final in such a beautiful stadium. I hope there will be a lot of Toulouse supporters in the stands."