HSBC SVNS 2024: France dominate as Dupont makes SVNS debut

We cover all the action from the first day of the men's HSBC SVNS Vancouver 2024, including France's imposing start and Great Britain's back to back wins.

All eyes were on Antoine Dupont as he made his HSBC SVNS 2024 bow, his French side the best of the teams on show on the opening day of HSBC SVNS Vancouver 2024 with two dominant wins.

Fiji and series leaders Argentina both went two from two in Pool A, setting up a pool decider when they meet tomorrow (10:33pm GMT), while Great Britain put together two impressive performances for a flawless opening day.

Pool A: Canada hearts broken as Argentina spoil the party

Canada and Argentina played out a thriller at BC Place but it was the HSBC SVNS 2024 series leaders who ultimately prevailed by 12-10. After going 7-0 down the home nation were buoyed by a growing Friday night crowd, two second half tries giving them a two-point lead with 90 seconds left. Argentina remained patient however as Rodrigo Isgro crossed just before time, holding out for their 13th consecutive pool stage win.

Argentina’s second game against Spain was a more straightforward affair, Argentina cantering to a 38-7 win to close the of the action on Day 1.

Meanwhile, second seed Fiji strutted to a 31-14 win in their tournament opener against Spain. Ponepati Loganimasi crossed for a hattrick of tries in a typically expansive, offloading display. In an arm wrestle in their second game against Canada, both sides exchanged scores, but Jeremaia Matana’s brace inside a minute proved the difference in their 22-12 victory.

Pool B: France dominant as Dupont debuts

Jordan Sepho’s runaway score gave France an unlikely 14-7 lead in the opening half of their first game against the USA, but Les Blues powered away in the second to win 21-12. Varian Pasquet scored their third before the headline act Antoine Dupont joined the action with three minutes on the clock, in time for Esteban Capilla to add a fourth. Adam Channel crossed for a late consolation for the USA.

Smarting from their loss to Argentina in their home final in Perth, Australia looked rusty as they fell to a 31-7 loss to a five-try Samoa in their opening game. After going 7-7 into the break it was all Samoa in the second, a beautiful chip and chase by Tom Maiava in just his second tournament to score the icing on the cake of Samoa’s best performance of the season so far. And Australia suffered the same fate against the USA – losing 21-26, a game of tit for tat saw the Perth silver medallists blink first, Perry Baker going over for the crucial winning try.

France and Samoa's meeting ended with a heathy scoreline for Les Blues, their six tries to Samoa’s one seeing them triumph 40-7 after two yellow cards for the Islanders.

Pool C: Great Britain upset Blitzboks to go top  

Selvyn Davids scored two in the first half to help the Blitzboks kick off Pool C with a 21-12 win against defending champions New Zealand. In just their 19th ever meeting at the group stage in SVNS history, Cody Vai gave New Zealand a chance at a comeback with his second half score, but South Africa managed the clock well, pinning their opponents on their own try line.

Great Britain overcame a 14-point deficit against Ireland as Will Homer’s try seized a last-gasp 17-14 victory. The Perth bronze medallists scored their two tries in the opening five minutes, but a well-worked team score finished by Robbie Ferguson pulled GB back into their contest before the break. Morgan Williams drew them within two points, and patient GB attack eventually made space down the blindside for Homer’s winner.

In the battle of the winners from Round 1 it was Great Britain who emerged shock victors, the bottom seed beating the Dubai gold medallists 17-12. GB led by 11 points with two minutes to go but Impi Visser’s try and a late penalty against Kaleem Barreto gave the Blitzboks a chance at a comeback. However, Tom Emery was GB’s hero, his crucial turnover securing a perfect record for his side on Day 1.  

The Pool C action was rounded up with New Zealand showing Ireland why they’re the reigning champions, holding off a late surge to get the first win of their weekend by 19-14.