Would Steph Curry or Lebron James carve up in 3x3 as they do in the NBA? Would Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo be good at 5-a-side? Yes – obviously. They possess the same skills that would make them equally as dangerous in a shorter form, but would their breakdown of attributes make them as dominant? 

Sevens is tricky to define in the context of a variant of 15s. It has the same laws, uses the same ball, and the same scoring system – but it’s best looked at through the lens of a different code. Seven players on the same size pitch make it very different from the ‘shorter forms’ of basketball and football. 

So how smoothly will France’s Antoine Dupont transition from 15s to sevens when he makes his debut in HSBC SVNS 2024 in Vancouver this weekend? Let’s take a look at his playing card breakdown:


As a nine, and occasional 10, in 15s, Dupont will find the blend of wide-spanning 20-metre passes, shorter-timed probing passes and the requirement to pass off his left and right hand comfortable – both statically and in motion. This is key for him as he'll likely find himself in the middle of the pitch when attacking and through his playmaker duties as a whole.


With no box kicks required, there will be more room for Dupont’s explorative kicking game. As an ambidextrous kicker with sublime vision, this area of his game could be a real point of difference for France.

The French have one of the tallest teams, backed with pace and power, so Dupont’s repertoire of cross-field kicks, chips over the top, or grubbers in behind could be of wonderful benefit. 


His game-changing, match-winning attacking skillset in 15s is the one area that may not be as noticeable as Dupont finds his feet in sevens. He bears the strength of someone twice his size, which will be relished with his combative style (and almost trademark hand-offs), but he will see a very different to the oicture in 15s where slower, ginormous pillars of men can be exploited in open space. 


This is always the first concern for any 15s player transitioning to sevens. Be it Stuart Hogg, Bryan Habana, or Jarryd Hayne – there is speed, then there’s sevens speed. Dupont won’t have the top end to run in tries from 50m or more, but he doesn’t necessarily need it – that will be down to the finishers around him. 


There is no doubt the experienced French coaching team will limit his minutes as he starts a six-month Olympic transition into developing sevens-level legs and lungs. 

There is a hard-hitting physiological toll to clocking such high running meters in both training and playing – and while there is no questioning his aerobic fitness for 80 minutes, it is the 10-second sapping anaerobic hit-ups, sprints and wrestles that empty tanks and create dark moments in 14-minute sevens games. 

Each team has five substitutions per match, so expect to see Dupont using a couple of those per game to ease him in at first. 


Dupont will have the confidence in one-on-one tackles in close contact but will be tested in more open spaces, mixed with jelly-leg fatigue and the relentless athleticism facing him. 

Even as the most connected part of the defensive line, the middle of the pitch can be a lonely place when lateral running can lead to unfavourable tackling situations. This is where time playing is vital – so expect some chinks in the incredible armour of one of the world’s leading 15s players. 

There is little doubt there will be enough highlights from Dupont this weekend to fill a few reels, but aside from the occasional sublime moments, the French coaching team will be hoping for small steps from the giant of the 15s game. 

By Rob Vickerman