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Dupont’s France and Levi’s Australia triumph in SVNS Series Grand Final

By Finn Morton
Australia and France are the gold medal winners on day three of the HSBC SVNS Grand Final at Stadium Civitas Metropolitano on 2 June, 2024 in Madrid, Spain. Photo credit: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

The Australia women’s team and Antoine Dupont’s France are the overall champions on the SVNS Series in 2023/24 after recording famous wins at Madrid’s Civitas Metropolitano on Sunday evening.

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With the first-ever Grand Final event in Spain’s capital being a winners-take-all event, the three-day tournament at the home of Atletico Madrid had almost a Rugby World Cup or European football atmosphere to it.

There were some all-time classic knockout matches as teams look to hang on to their dream of becoming champions of the rugby sevens in the world, but in the end, only one team could stand above the rest.

Australia knocked League winners New Zealand out of Championship Final contention in a thrilling semi-final, with Tia Hinds converting a long-range conversion after the siren to snatch a famous win.

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After moving on to the big dance, the Aussies set their sights on a blockbuster Final against France. Les Bleues Sevens has proven to be a tough opponent for the likes of Australia and New Zealand this season, and that remained true with silverware on the line.

With the two teams locked at 7-all at the break, it could’ve gone either way, but a Maddison Levi hat-trick ensured the world title was going home with Australia. The women in gold claimed their first Cup final win in the Series since Cape Town in December.

“We’re finally getting some pay for our hard work which is good,” Levi told RugbyPass. “So close to the Olympics, we’re finally building.

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“Having not beaten New Zealand since Perth, it’s always a tough battle between the two and I think for it to finally just click and just to work hard, it just proves… that we’ve got it.”

It would’ve been impossible to wipe the smile off Maddi Levi’s face. The try-scoring phenomenon was walked around the field at the iconic European football venue, moving from teammate to teammate with an interview or two in between.

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Levi, 22, had just been crowned the SVNS Series top try scorer. But rather than talk too much about the individual accolade, the Australian was beaming with joy when talking about the team’s incredible accomplishment.

“I think they’ve done really well with the structure. Sevens is a rollercoaster and unfortunately you can’t peak all the time being an athlete,” Levi added.

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“We have full trust and full faith in our coaches and I think what they’re doing out there, it’s really showing on the field.

“The willingness and the courage for each and every one to dig deep at training – we call it ‘cronning.’ The hard work, sweat and tears is able to put on performances like that out here.”

After the women’s Championship Final, France and Argentina made their way onto the field for the men’s decider. This match pitted the League-winning Argentina against a confident French outfit that included Antoine Dupont.

It was a tense stat to the contest. The crowd was truly something special, with thousands of Argentinians trading blows with an equally-as-passionate group of French supporters.

Los Pumas Sevens eventually opened the scoring in the sixth minute through Luciano Gonzalez but it was all Les Bleus Sevens from there.

France piled on 19 unanswered points with Stephen Parez do Martin, Jefferson-Lee Joseph and Paulin Riva all scoring tries.

After ending their 19-year Cup final drought earlier this season in Los Angeles, France has backed up those heroics on the SVNS Series’ biggest stage and they can now call themselves world champions.

“I was honestly a bit worried before my first tournament, so I tried to work very hard to be ready for Vancouver and Los Angeles but there was a very good team spirit in the team so it was easy to join them,” Antoine Dupont said on stage.

“I hope it will be a huge tournament for us,” he added when asked about the Olympics. “Obviously we want to win, but we’re not the only team, so we have two months to work as hard as we can to be ready and to try and lift the trophy in July.”

Relive all of the SVNS Madrid action for free on RugbyPass TV. To watch the Grand Final on demand, register HERE.

Watch the exclusive reveal-all episode of Walk the Talk with Ardie Savea as he chats to Jim Hamilton about the RWC 2023 experience, life in Japan, playing for the All Blacks and what the future holds. Watch now for free on RugbyPass TV

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4 Comments
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Perthstayer 22 days ago

Dupont sees opportunities where there wasn’t one until he makes it so. Utter class.

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Mzilikazi 2 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Very good article, Nic, and I find agreement with what you write virtually 100%. I think this two mach series has increasingly become one which will be very difficult for Ireland to win. After the first game of the last 6N, I would have been very full of confidence taking on the Boks in SA. France beaten by a big margin in France, it looked as if Ireland had emerged in fine form from the World Cup, despite the very narrow loss to the AB’s. But after that game, a slide began, ending with the defeat to England. Ireland were very fortunate to win this years 6N ! And as you so fully expose, this has not been a good season for Leinster, or indeed, in my view, for any Irish province. The Leinster loos to the Bulls, and then Munster letting a glorious chance slip to the Glasgow Warriors down at Thomond. Man, that one will really hurt. And both Connacht and Ulster have at times looked very poor this seaso, bith heavily beaten on occassion. The loss of both Gibson Park and Keenan are huge blows, especially Gibson Park. And there is really only one clear class 10 in the touring party, Jack Crowley, and he is still a very young player learning his trade. If he goes down, heaven help Ireland. And in my view, Ireland do not have a good scrummaging front row, SA do, and in great depth too. But despite all this doom and gloom, I always believe my team can win. Not that they will win, just can ! Ireland will still field what is the best and most talented team overall that I have seen in my lifetime. But the coaching group will really have to step up, no awful decisions like the one made against the AB’s in the QF….keeping the totally spent and poorly performing(on the day) Sexton on for the full 80mins, leaving Crowley on the sidelines. Ireland should never have lost that game !

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Shaylen 5 hours ago
Is Ireland versus South Africa a battle for the title of ‘world champions’?

Ireland have all the tools required to hurt SA. They develop quick ball, hold onto the ball for long periods, stretch the game when its on, have powerful mobile forwards, a good kicking game and they can hold their own in the scrum. They also can force turnovers regularly and in general do well at the breakdown. When Munster, the Ospreys and Glasgow all won games in SA this year against the Bulls and Stormers they did just that and won. It is also the reason why Ireland won the game at the world cup last year. The problem for Ireland is that SA have all the tools required to hurt them as well and hurt them a great deal more than England did in the Six Nations. They are physical and powerful at the set piece, they rush up and counter the Irish attacking system and they can really attack the breakdown and slow your ball down. Their counterattacking threat is also a big weapon and they score many tries from turnover turning defence into offence in a second. Toulouse and the Bulls nailed Leinster in this way and Glasgow did the same thing to Munster. So the series will be really interesting because both sides are so good at countering each other. Interested to see what kind of surprises Tony Brown springs and how the SA game develops. Feel like SA have more potential to surprise Ireland but then a new coaching set up as well as the fact that Japanese and foreign based players tend to take about 5 to 6 weeks to get up to speed might work in Irelands favour. SA have shipped at least one game in 4 of the last 5 June/July test windows going back to 2018 for this exact reason.

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