Antoine Dupont takes first steps in his bid to help France win rugby sevens at Paris Games

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VANCOUVER, Canada (AP) — Standout scrumhalf Antoine Dupont has taken the first steps in his bid to help France win the rugby sevens at the Paris Olympics this summer.

Dupont came on midway through the second half in a 24-12 win against the United States and once again in a 40-7 win against Samoa on Friday night in Vancouver, which is hosting the fourth round of the men's and women's HSBC SVNS competition.

The 27-year-old Dupont is widely considered the world’s best rugby union player in the traditional 15-a-side format. He is a former world player of the year, three-time Six Nations player of the year, and was one of the stars at last year's World Cup in France, where he needed surgery for a facial fracture.

Dupont has taken time out from rugby union to adapt to the 7s format ahead of playing on home soil at the at the Paris Games from July 26-Aug. 11.

“(The Olympics) represent the Holy Grail of the sport, as simple as that," Dupont said in an interview with the French rugby federation earlier this month. "To be able to compete for a medal is already outstanding.”

While Dupont continues to play this weekend in Canada, Les Tricolores host Italy in the Six Nations tournament on Sunday.

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AP coverage of the Paris Olympics: https://apnews.com/hub/2024-paris-olympic-games

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AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby