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Rugby

29th Apr 2023

Antoine Dupont answered question about Wayne Barnes the only way he could

Patrick McCarry

Antoine Dupont

The Toulouse captain was frustrated with a couple of the referee and TMO calls during the match, but was reflective after the game.

For the second season running, Antoine Dupont and Toulouse came to Dublin with high hopes of toppling Leinster. For the second season running, the five-time champions got spanked and sent on their way.

Leinster beat Toulouse 41-22 in their Champions Cup semi-final, at Aviva Stadium, but needed that ruthless streak to score 28 points during two sin-bin periods for Toulouse players. Thomas Ramos and Rodrigue Neti were sin-binned for respective deliberate knock-on and high tackle offences, in the first and second half.

In the cold light of day, those two yellow cards were the difference between victory and defeat.

Leinster senior coach Leo Cullen spoke of exploiting the man advantage and upping the intensity during those periods. Both Toulouse captain Antoine Dupont and head coach Ugo Mola were not about to start banging tables about Wayne Barnes and his officials.

Antoine Dupont

Antoine Dupont on match officials

“The scoreline was 28-0 when it was 15 versus 14,” reflected Ugo Mola, “so that’s why we have some questions about the match. If we had played 15 vs. 15 it might have been different.”

“We had two yellow cards and paid the price for it,” the Toulouse coach added. “We waged a battle but lost out in the decisive moments.” Antoine Dupont answered in the only way he felt he could after such a resounding defeat. The scrumhalf commented:

“Collectively, we were under pressure… we were able to break the lines but they were able to cover well for each other… when the scoreline is so high in their favour, it is hard to talk about strategy or close moments.

“I felt it was different from last year, even though the scoreline was quite similar… we were under the impression that we were dangerous and able to score points… you can’t talk about the referee or talk about tactics when you concede 40 points. It’s hard to argue with [the result].”

It was a practical reply to a question, about Wayne Barnes and his officials, that could have seen supporters cling to some sense of a team hard done by. He has faced Leinster twice in the past 12 months and seen his team well beaten.

“There is still a competition to play and a title to win – we will get ready for that and we won’t bite the dust… we have to be very demanding of ourselves… we need to learn. It is a learning curve.”

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