Dupont inspires France to World Sevens win in Madrid

Antoine Dupont
Antoine Dupont was named rugby's World Player of the Year in 2021 [Getty Images]

Rugby fans were given a taste of what they can expect at the Olympics as France legend Antoine Dupont inspired his country to a Sevens World Series win in Madrid.

The French ran three tries past favourites Argentina to win the final 19-5, with Dupont laying on the decisive third score for Paulin Riva.

After waiting 19 years for a Sevens title, France have now won two of the five tournaments since Toulouse scrum-half Dupont joined the squad from the 15-a-side team.

"Antoine is the best player in the world, we think," said Riva. "When he is on the pitch we have a lot of confidence and we are very happy tonight.

"We feel the Olympics arrived right now."

Dupont, 27, is expected to be one of the faces of this summer's Olympic Games in Paris and played a key role in his side's Madrid success.

He scored a try and set up another as the French came from behind to beat Great Britain 17-12 after extra time in the group stages to reach the semi-finals.

And Dupont then came off the bench to inspire another comeback victory against Fiji in the last four, helping in the build-up of two second-half tries as they ran out 21-14 winners.

Argentina beat New Zealand by the same scoreline in the semis and in the final, Luciano Gonzalez went over in the corner to give the Pumas a 5-0 lead late in the first half.

But France responded with a superb breakaway try under the posts from Stephen Parez-Edo Martin just before half-time.

Dupont came on after the break with his side leading 7-5 and, after Jefferson-Lee Joseph had finished a flowing move to extend their advantage, he took out two defenders to lay a pass on a plate for Riva to seal the win.

After picking up the player of the tournament award, Dupont said: "I hope it [the Olympics] will be a huge tournament for us. Obviously we want to win but there are many other countries who want to win as well. We have two months now to work as hard as we can and hopefully we will be ready come July."

The men's sevens tournament gets under way at the Olympics in Paris on 24 July, with the women's event starting on 28 July.