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Watch: Antoine Dupont breaks Irish hearts with last-gasp winner in quarter

By Finn Morton
Antoine Dupont celebrates after scoring the match-winning try in the SVNS Vancouver quarter-final between France and Ireland. Picture: World Rugby.

It just had to be him, didn’t it? SVNS Series debutant Antoine Dupont has booked France a spot in the SVNS Vancouver semi-finals after scoring a last-play winner against Ireland on Saturday.

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Dupont, 27, came off the bench in France’s first two pool matches before being handed a maiden start with the sevens team against Australia on Day Two.

The former World Rugby 15s Player of the Year showed some impressive skill, pace and sheer rugby genius to dance around Matt Gonzalez and score his first SVNS Series try.

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But the best was yet to come. Fans had to wait a little while to see Dupont in action with the playmaker named on the bench, but he certainly made an impact when given the chance.

With time up on the clock, France’s 2023 Rugby World Cup captain prepared to feed the ball into an attacking scrum about 10 metres out from Ireland’s try line.

Ireland had just gone down to six men after a yellow card, and while that presented an attacking opportunity out wide with an overlap, Dupont had another idea.

Dupont immediately burst down the left edge and Ireland never looked a chance of stopping the rugby sevens convert. The Frenchman placed the ball down, took a split-second to breathe before celebrating with his teammates.

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“Well this is dangerous,” commentator Gareth Rees said on the SVNS Series broadcast. “Dupont has the whole side of the field to look at.

“He’s tired the blindside! Great vision and what a moment. The World Rugby Player of the Year has led his French sevens team into the Cup semi-final here in Vancouver.”

It was an unforgettable moment for all in attendance at BC Place Stadium. France are still undefeated at SVNS Vancouver and will look to maintain that record against the All Blacks Sevens on Sunday.

New Zealand started their quest for Cup final glory with a loss to South Africa in pool play but wins over Ireland, Great Britain and Fiji have set them up for a shot at greatness.

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“It was sort of backs against the wall (after losing to South Africa), we had to win the next two games to go through,” All Blacks Sevens veteran Tim Mikkelson told RugbPass.

“A lot of young boys, they’re stepping up. We’ve got a guy out for a citing and a few niggles but the boys have played amazing.

“We’re starting the games well, we’re building momentum and then we’re hanging on at the end and that was an awesome win with six at the end there against an amazing Fijian team.”

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