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Video.  Antoine Dupont's first steps with the French rugby sevens team in the United States, Samoa, Canada

Video. Antoine Dupont's first steps with the French rugby sevens team in the United States, Samoa, Canada

Aiming for the Paris Olympics (July 26 – August 11), Antoine Dupont played his first minutes in Vancouver (Canada) with the French Sevens rugby team on Friday night, February 24, as a supporter. Master of its subject.

The Blues shone with a win over the USA (24-12) on the first day of the fourth round of the World Tour and then showed strength against Samoa (40-7). They followed the French women's team and won twice (14 of 26 against Canada, 7 of 19 against Spain).

Before Saturday's last match of the group stage (three groups of four, the top two in each group and the two best third-placed qualifiers), the two teams that top their group are guaranteed to compete in the quarterfinals. – Finals on Saturday.

All eyes were on Vancouver's Antoine Dupont (27), rugby union star, iconic captain of the French team and Stade Toulouse aiming to shine at the Paris Games this summer.

The quarter-finalist of the last Rugby Union World Championship made a discreet debut, but started both matches on the bench and was welcomed by the crowd, returning in the 11th minute both times (a match is divided into two periods of 7 minutes), each time when the crowd closed. In such a short time, DuPont, number 25 at the back, did not score a try, but was involved in some action, passes and rucks, where he was allowed once by the referee.

DuPont's arrival in the France squad “is not easy because he is a great player,” commented his teammate Pauline Riva. “We want to help him maximize his potential so he can be good for the team.”

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Mantra against Samoa

If there's a message to be conveyed, it's that the French men's team showed that the machine is perfectly oiled and that DuPont is not wearing a savior suit, but will have to fight to find his place.

After a shaky start against USA (8th on the world circuit), the Blues (7th) closed out the win (24-12, 4 tries) before being crushed 7 for 40 against Samoa (9th). , with six tries.

French, wand in hand, multiple feats of majesty: Jordan Sefo's (4th) hair-raising sprint; A kick-off from Stefan Pares was recovered directly in the air and Jefferson-Lee Joseph sprinted out for a try (8th); Or a brilliant move completed by Esteban Kabila after a sistera inspired by a Varian basket (19th).

Olympic runners-up in Tokyo 2021, Les Bleus are top of the world rankings (3rd), securing their group favorite status with two dominant victories.

They first cooled down the locals by easily beating Canada (26-14), thanks to four tries, two of them thanks to the powerful Seraphin Okemba. They then dominated Spain (19-7) with three tries and are among the favorites to reach Sunday's semi-finals and final. The world sevens rugby tour stops in Los Angeles next week, where DuPont will still be with the Blues.