Antoine Dupont shines despite ‘scary’ sevens debut but France fail in title quest

Colin Newboult
Antoine Dupont scoring a try for France against Australia in sevens in 2024.

Antoine Dupont scoring a try for France against Australia in sevens in 2024.

Global superstar Antoine Dupont enjoyed a fine first weekend in the shorter form of the game as France claimed their best result in the men’s competition this season, but it was not enough to win the title.

The 27-year-old was making his debut on the World Rugby SVNS series ahead of his ultimate dream of featuring in the Paris Olympics.

After beginning life on the bench in Vancouver, as Dupont eased his way in, he was showing his vast array of skills by the end of the tournament.

Semi-final elimination

Although the Frenchmen were eliminated in the semi-finals following a tight 28-26 defeat to New Zealand, they finished the tournament on a high.

Dupont scored one of France’s tries and set up two more as they thrashed the USA 42-12 to finish the fourth leg of the series in third place.

It was a fine start to life in sevens for the outstanding XVs scrum-half, who will also feature next week when it moves to Los Angeles in the United States.

“You just have to watch the guys on the pitch to understand why it was scary,” Dupont told RugbyPass.

“There are very fast guys and they’ve known this game for a very long time. I’m new on the series so I have to learn. I have to do my best from the first game until the last.

“All the action on the field makes me more confident. I have to spend time on the field, spend time with the guys to know them better. I have to learn every minute when I am on the field.

“I played a lot when I was 16, 17 years old. After I became pro it was more difficult to play sevens so I just watched the game on TV and I watched a lot of players who are here now. It’s a pleasure to play against them.”

Incredible Argentinian run

France’s third place finish was comfortably the men’s best tournament of the season, but they have plenty of ground to make up if they are to catch leaders Argentina.

The South Americans have utterly dominated so far in 2023/24. After beginning the campaign with a silver medal behind South Africa, they have claimed the next three titles in Cape Town, Perth and Vancouver.

Los Pumas had to battle through their quarter-final encounter with Samoa but, once they got through that with a 14-12 triumph, they thrashed the USA and New Zealand in the semi-final and final respectively.

Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, New Zealand claimed their first title of the season after they defeated France in the showpiece event.

READ MORE: France player ratings: Dreadful Danty and dismal showings cost Les Bleus in stalemate with Italy