Dupont to take centre stage at Madrid Sevens Grand Final

rugby28 May 2024 06:00| © SuperSport
By:Brenden Nel
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Antoine Dupont © Gallo Images

He may have conquered the Investec Champions Cup with an incredible individual performance on Saturday, but French superstar Antoine Dupont will shift aside his accolade of being named the Player of the tournament to focus his attention on the Madrid finale of the HSBC World Sevens Series in Madrid this weekend.

While the jury is still out on whether the move from the old format to the marketing-savvy SVNS abbreviation has been a massive success, the introduction of the winner-takes-all finale will be a unique and challenging one for teams going to Madrid this weekend.

While the top eight teams in the Series will vie for glory, with South Africa’s Blitzboks having another tune-up for their crucial final chance at Olympic qualification, and Kenya bidding to rejoin the main Sevens core teams for next season, much of the focus will be on the fifteens superstar himself.

Dupont’s contribution in Saturday’s win over Leinster was nothing short of sensational. The stats simply don’t lie. He beat more defenders than any other player in the final (six) and won the most turnovers (four). He also made the most kicks in play (19), the most kick in play metres (665) and became the first player this season to kick two 50/22s in a match.

While those may not mean much in the Sevens game, his sights are firmly set on a medal in Paris at the Olympics but Madrid may be a good place to announce his new-found love for the shorter game.

France have become a massive force in Sevens this season and have been much more consistent than the Blitzboks and Madrid will offer all teams a glimpse of the shortened format they will face in Paris next month as they vie for an Olympic medal.

The tournament schedule, though, is brutal in Sevens terms, as the shootout will see the top teams face off in condensed pools before a semifinal and final on Sunday sorts out the tournament winners.

Argentina won the regular seven-tournament league and were presented their trophy in Singapore earlier this month.

The Grand Final pools at least don’t pit the Blitzboks against France just yet. South Africa don’t have it easy though, as they are pooled with runners up Ireland, 2023 Series winners New Zealand and double Olympic champions Fiji in Pool B.

Pool A sees Argentina, who won the series, France, Australia and Great Britain face off.

The Blitzboks will also be keeping an eye on Great Britain, who are their main challengers in the hunt for the final Olympic spot next month when the two teams join others in Monaco for the Repecharge Tournament.

But for now Dupont will take centre stage this weekend again, but the more important focus will be on the results and how the Blitzboks face up to the incredible challenge.

The Blitzboks Women’s team need to front up to the challenge as they face the tough prospect of a qualifier tournament as well in Madrid this weekend. With the bottom four teams on the Men’s and Women’s Sevens Circuit playing against the top four teams in the newly formed Challenger Series, they will have to play for survival for next season.

The top four teams will qualify for the main Sevens Series next season while the other four teams in the Qualifier will have to play the Challenger Series next season.

Madrid Grand Finale pools.

Men’s Championship

Pool A: Argentina, Australia, France, Great Britain

Pool B: Ireland, New Zealand, Fiji, South Africa

Men’s Qualifier

Pool A: Canada, Germany, Uruguay, USA

Pool B: China, Kenya, Samoa, Spain

Women’s Championship

Pool A: New Zealand, Canada, USA, Great Britain

Pool B: Australia, France, Fiji, Ireland

Women’s Qualifier

Pool A: Japan, Spain, China, Poland

Pool B: Brazil, South Africa, Argentina, Belgium

Blitzboks fixtures


2:37pm v Ireland


12:44pm v New Zealand

3:49pm v Fiji

Blitzboks Women’s fixtures


12pm v Argentina

3:06pm v Belgium


1:51pm v Brazil