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Hugo Keenan: Sevens would be 'cool' but Champions Cup the focus

Hugo Keenan says he only has one goal for this season and that's helping Leinster regain the Champions Cup.

Heads were turned in the rugby world last week when it was announced that France captain Antoine Dupont was opting out of their Six Nations campaign to join up with their Sevens programme ahead of the Paris Olympic Games, while former Australia skipper Michael Hooper will also switch codes.

Ireland full-back Keenan, a regular under Andy Farrell since making his international debut in 2020, spent over two years in the Sevens programme and along with the likes of team-mate Jimmy O'Brien, Munster's Shane Daly, and Ulster's Rob Baloucoune and Nick Timoney, would be considered among a cohort of players who could adapt more easily to the code due to previous experience.

Speaking to RTÉ Sport, Leinster head coach Leo Cullen said they would be "open-minded" about allowing some of their players to switch.

Keenan returned to action, after Ireland's World Cup campaign, with a player-of-the-match showing in Leinster's BKT URC victory over Scarlets on Saturday night.

The 27-year-old was one of Ireland top performers at the World Cup and was asked about following in the footsteps of Dupont, arguably the world's best player, after the win.

"No, like, it would be very cool to do," he said with a laugh. "I obviously loved my time with the Sevens, I did two and half, three years with them.

"I'd like to think I helped them qualify for the last one in Tokyo [in 2021]. My last ever Sevens event was the qualifier to get them into the World Repechage.

"Yeah, it's exciting for Dupont and the lads to do it but I'm back with Leinster. My big target this year is that European Cup and yeah, I'm just focusing on that.

"My dad's missing the Sevens