HSBC SVNS 2024: Dupont takes France to Vancouver semi-final

We recap all the action from Day two of the men's HSBC SVNS Vancouver 2024 as Antoine Dupont fulfilled the script and shone for France.

A last-gasp Antoine Dupont try took France into the semi-finals at HSBC SVNS Vancouver 2024 with USA, Argentina and New Zealand joining them in the final four.

The French won a tense quarter-final 12-5 over Ireland as they continued to look the best of the teams on show. Argentina and the USA will face each other in the other semi-final after they dispatched Great Britain and Samoa respectively.

Elsewhere, hosts Canada were defeated by South Africa in their 9th place semi-final while Australia beat Spain in the other.

Pool stage wrapped up

Great Britain needed just a losing bonus point against New Zealand to secure top spot in Pool A, but a brace from Akuila Rokolisoa and a third from Sam Dickson, all inside the first five minutes, hampered those chances. Dickson added another, the one hundredth of his HSBC SVNS career, to secure a quarter-final spot for New Zealand, while GB’s two wins from day one were enough to continue their quest for the cup.   

France marched into the quarter-finals with a 31-5 victory against Australia, topping Pool B after a comprehensive start to the tournament. Antoine Dupont scored his first try in Les Blues Sevens colours as Australia were dealt their third defeat of the pool stage. USA’s impressive win against Samoa handed them the second spot, with Samoa joining them as one of the next-best.

Argentina won 24-19 in their Pool C decider with Fiji to claim top spot after Luciano Gonzalez went over for a first-half brace. A Fiji yellow didn’t help their hopes of a comeback, and despite conceding three times series leaders Los Pumas Sevens held on for victory. But Fiji still went forward to the quarter-final stage against New Zealand.

USA v Great Britain

In the first quarter-final, USA ran out 27-0 winners over Great Britain in a one-sided affair.

A tense first half saw the USA take their time to break down their opponents, but scored twice just before the half through Malacchi Esdale and Perry Baker.

And straight after the break Baker, who sits third on the all-time series try scoring chart, would score his second, the USA powering away from there with two more scores to book their semi-final spot.

They face a difficult match-up however, with series leaders Argentina to face in the semi-final.

Argentina v Samoa

Hopes of a third tournament victory in a row were kept alive for Argentina as Samoa gave them a tough battle in a 14-12 victory.

Steve Onosai was on the scoreboard for the Samoans in the first minute, but Argentina replied to draw the scores level before half time, with Elisapeta Alofipo seeing yellow for Samoa.

Matías Osadczuk got the score for Argentina to take them ahead, Tobias Wade making what proved to be the crucial conversion as Uaina Tui Sione scored with two minutes to go, but Neueli Leitufia could not add the extras.

New Zealand v Fiji

The All Blacks Sevens edged a blistering quarter-final with Fiji, finishing 21-19.

Rokolisoa added to his brace against Great Britain earlier in the day in the third minute, but Fiji scored twice before the break to lead 12-7 at the half. Joe Webber scored his 100th try in his 50th tournament to re-establish their lead, Sam Dickson following up with another to extend it.

Fehi Fineanganofo’s yellow and the subsequent penalty try allowed Fiji a chance at a reprieve, but they were two points short at the final whistle.

The in-form France will be New Zealand's opponents at the semi-final stage.

France v Ireland

A tense 12-5 victory for France was decided in the only way it could, a winning try from Antoine Dupont sealing victory and France a tie against New Zealand in the semi-finals.

Jordan Sepho scored the only try of the opening half for France as they led 5-0 at the break, but two yellow cards a minute apart for Rayan Rebbadj and Joseph Jefferson Lee gave Ireland an overlap to exploit, Harry McNulty going over to draw level.

The conversion was missed and a yellow of their own hampered Ireland’s chances, setting the stage for Dupont to shoot down the blindside of the scrum to score the winner.