Select Edition

Northern Northern
Southern Southern
Global Global
NZ NZ

‘A different world’: Aussie 7s not losing sleep before Antoine Dupont clash

By Finn Morton
Antoine Dupont #25 of France watches the play from field side in their match against USA during day one of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series - Vancouver at BC Place on February 23, 2024 in Vancouver, British Columbia. France won 24-12. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)

Antoine Dupont probably only played about eight minutes in total across two games on Day One at SVNS Vancouver but the Frenchman certainly stole the show with those brief appearances.

ADVERTISEMENT

Dupont, 27, was the only substitute on the opening day that the ground announcer addressed by name, which prompted a deafening cheer from the thousands in attendance.

The former World Rugby 15s Player of the Year is the player that every fan wants to see this weekend, but Dupont’s upcoming opponents “won’t lose any sleep” thinking about Saturday.

Video Spacer

Video Spacer

Australia, who were runners-up in both the Cape Town and Perth Cup finals, stand on the brink of elimination in Vancouver after two tough losses on Day One at BC Place Stadium.

The Aussies were swept off the park in a 31-7 drubbing by Samoa earlier on Friday, and a last-minute Perry Baker try saw USA sneak by with a thrilling 26-21 win in the evening.

SVNS Series veteran Henry Hutchison was asked about the threat that Dupont poses ahead of the upcoming must-win pool clash, but the Australian isn’t too focused on “the man.”

“Obviously we know Antoine’s here. He does fantastic things in the 15s game but it’s a different world the sevens world,” Hutchison told RugbyPass.

ADVERTISEMENT

“We don’t focus on the man we focus on the team. He’s definitely improved their team but we’ll just tackle what’s coming at us.

“We’ll review them tonight and we’ll review them tomorrow morning and if he’s done anything super special we’ll probably make a note over it but we won’t lose any sleep thinking about it.”

Related

France have been one of the form teams of SVNS Vancouver so far. Even with Dupont sitting on the sidelines for most of the time, Les Bleus Sevens have been frighteningly good.

After getting the better of the United States 24-12 in their first Pool B clash, France made it two-from-two with an emphatic 40-7 win over Samoa – the team that beat Australia.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m expecting them to be red hot again,” Hutchison said.

“That’s our next job. We’re focusing on France and then wherever we fall after that will be what it’ll be.

“We’re expecting them to play as they’ve been playing. French flair’s alive this weekend.

“Tomorrow’s a new day and that’s the best thing about sevens, we probably get one more shot at it, one more roll of the dice and hopefully we get snake eyes and we go well.”

Australia are currently anchored to the bottom of Pool B with two wins from as many starts and a points difference of -29.

They’ll need to beat France, and by a fair margin, to put themselves in with a chance of progressing as one of the two best third-placed teams across the pools.

“Definitely a tough day at the office. That’s sevens, you can be at the top of the tournament last trip in Perth and now probably down near the bottom.

Related

“I think today, we just didn’t turn up. Enthusiastic-wise we were a bit sloppy in the morning, we tried to rectify that against the USA today and thought we were reasonably good but we fell off at the very end.

“(Perry Baker has) been doing that for years. You think about how you can shut him down but he still managed to find a way.

“We were really disappointed but it’s a small step in our journey to Paris this year. We’ll learn from that, a few young boys will learn from their mistakes today and we’ll grow as a team.

“We’ll remember this feeling and we definitely don’t like it so we don’t want to be here again.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Join free

Chasing The Sun | Series 1 Episode 1

Fresh Starts | Episode 1 | Will Skelton

ABBIE WARD: A BUMP IN THE ROAD

Aotearoa Rugby Podcast | Episode 9

James Cook | The Big Jim Show | Full Episode

New Zealand victorious in TENSE final | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Men's Highlights

New Zealand crowned BACK-TO-BACK champions | Cathay/HSBC Sevens Day Three Women's Highlights

Japan Rugby League One | Bravelupus v Steelers | Full Match Replay

Trending on RugbyPass

Comments

Join free and tell us what you really think!

Sign up for free
ADVERTISEMENT

Latest Features

Comments on RugbyPass

P
Poorfour 4 hours ago
The AI advantage: How the next two Rugby World Cups will be won

AI models are really just larger and less transparent variants of the statistical models that have been in use since Moneyball was invented. And a big difference between the Icahn centre’s results and AI today is that ChatGPT-like Large Language Models can explain (to some degree) how they reached their conclusions. In terms of what impact they will have, I suspect it will have two primary impacts: 1) It will place a premium on coaching creativity 2) It will lead to more selections that baffle fans and pundits. Analysts will be able to run the models both ways: they will see their own team’s and players’ weaknesses and strengths as well as the opposition’s. So they will have a good idea at what the other team will be targeting and the decisive difference may well be which coaches are smart enough to think of a gameplan that the other side didn’t identify and prepare for. For players, it places a premium on three key things: 1) Having a relatively complete game with no major weaknesses (or the dedication to work on eliminating them) 2) Having the tactical flexibility to play a different game every week 3) Having a point of difference that is so compelling that there isn’t a defence for it. (3) is relatively rare even among pro players. There have been only a handful of players over the years where you knew what they were going to do and the problem was stopping it - Lomu would be the classic example. And even when someone does have that, it’s hard to sustain. Billy Vunipola in his prime was very hard to stop, but fell away quite badly when the toll on his body began to accumulate. So coaches will look for (1) - a lack of exploitable weaknesses - and (2) - the ability to exploit others’ weaknesses - ahead of hoping for (3), at least for the majority of the pack. Which is likely to mean that, as with the original Moneyball, competent, unshowy players who do the stuff that wins matches will win out over outrageous talents who can’t adapt to cover their own weaknesses. Which will leave a lot of people on the sidelines sputtering over the non-inclusion of players whose highlights reels are spectacular, but whose lowlight reels have been uncovered by AI… at least until the point where every fan has access to a sporting analysis AI.

13 Go to comments
TRENDING
TRENDING Nemani Nadolo: 'Now I cut grass, do gardens, cut hedges for a living' Nemani Nadolo: 'Now I cut grass, do gardens, cut hedges for a living'
Search