HSBC SVNS 2024: France beat Great Britain for first title in 19 years

We recap the final day of men's action at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles as France won their first gold medal on the circuit in almost 20 years.

France secured a 21-0 victory over an injury-stricken Great Britain to win their first series gold medal in almost 20 years at HSBC SVNS Los Angeles.

That last win had come in Paris back in 2005, and after a long time between drinks, France scored three unanswered tries to etch their name on the Los Angeles trophy.

Antoine Dupont was the headline act again, the former World Rugby Men's 15s Player of the Year inspiring his team to bronze in his debut SVNS tournament in Vancouver and now gold in Los Angeles to lift Les Bleus up to fourth in the series standings.

Great Britain are now just one point away from eighth place and a guaranteed place in SVNS 2025 after their runners-up finish.

In the bronze final, Ireland comfortably beat Spain 24-7 after leading 19-0 at the break. SVNS 2024 leaders Argentina finished fifth and still hold a commanding 20-point lead at the top of the standings. 

Elsewhere, New Zealand lost 12-5 to Samoa in the ninth-place play-off to finish 10th, their worst of the season.

France overcome determined Great Britain  

Great Britain were measured in attack in the opening moments but were unable to overcome the French scramble defence as they turned the ball over in their own 22.

France advanced up the field in attack but were too eager to open the scoring as a speculative offload went to ground and handed possession back to Great Britain. It took an unfortunate moment when Tom Emery pulled up injured while in possession for Les Bleus to get on the board, Antoine Zeghdar punching on the turnover. 

Having been forced to field only one player on the bench due to their high injury toll, Great Britain would always be up against it before Emery pulled up. But there was no mercy from France as they showed their handling skills to score their second and take a 14-0 lead.

Desperation in defence saw Morgan Williams obstruct France’s attempt to go quick from a penalty and he saw yellow. France was initially held up over the line, but Theo Forner was eventually sent under the sticks to extend the lead to 21 points.

A silver medal for Great Britain is still by far their best finish of the season, bettering their seventh place in Vancouver last weekend and seeing them move to within a point of USA in ninth and safety in the series standings.

Route to the final: France edge Ireland and Great Britain defeat Spain

France just held on to win 26-24 over Ireland in their semi-final after a late missed conversion from Ireland’s Billy Dardis.

Jordan Conroy opened the scoring for Ireland when he crossed in the first minute, but France led 12-7 at the break thanks to tries from Antoine Dupont and Rayan Rebbadj, the latter scoring on the stroke of half-time.

France added another seven-pointer straight after the break as Paulin Riva broke free to score under the posts, but Ireland quickly responded through Terry Kennedy as he scored his 100th SVNS series try to draw his side within a score.

However, a try full of French flair would ultimately seal the game – starting from behind their goal line, Stephen Parez Edo Martin eventually put the ball on his boot to be gathered by Antoine Zeghdar for France’s fourth and a spot in the final.

Meanwhile, Great Britain won a last-minute penalty to hold on for a 10-7 win against Spain and advance to the final.

Spain enjoyed a long period of possession in the opening minutes, but strong defence saw Great Britain repel the energetic Spaniards behind the gain line. Great Britain looked far more dangerous in attack when they got the ball and sure enough opened the scoring through Robbie Fergusson for the only points of the half.

Great Britain extended their lead through Alex Davis but one missed tackle was enough for Spain to go under the post through Tobias Sainz-Trapaga and make it a three-point game. Spain won a turnover to earn one final attack in the dying moments, but a jackal penalty in favour of Great Britain allowed them to secure victory.

Ireland defeat Spain to take bronze

Zac Ward’s first-half brace and Ed Kelly’s third took Ireland to a 19-0 lead at half-time against Spain, Chay Mullins’ late score capping off a strong weekend and securing their second-place spot in the series table.

Spain had reached the first-ever cup semi-final against Great Britain earlier in the day, this fourth-place finish was their best of the season so far.