Zapping World Fifteen Autumn tour: the editor’s dream XV
Praise to Antoine Dupont, episode… we don’t really count anymore. Freshly voted Best Player of the 6 Nations tournament, the scrum half and captain of the Blues never ceases to arouse the admiration of his teammates, his coaches, as well as many other international rugby personalities.
The last of these personalities is a familiar face in the oval ball world: it is former international referee Nigel Owens. The Welshman is an absolute fan of the French number 9 which he refers to as a “genius” in a column on Wales Online.
“Sometimes as a referee you realize you’re in the company of a rugby genius on the pitch. You always treat the player exactly like the others when it comes to decision making, but you just see his skills up close and you realize he’s above the rest stands (…) Today, however, it is difficult for anyone to disagree that Antoine Dupont is alone, head and shoulders above the rest, in my opinion.
I first met Dupont when he was a teenager, when I whistled for him at Toulouse and also a few times for France. He may have been young, but I immediately saw that he was a world-class player in the making. Dupont had it all: speed, footwork, physicality, reading the game.
It was a real pleasure to referee him. He’s very different from the normal scrum half who tends to sit in your ear, chirp and tell you what the opponent might be doing wrong. Must have something to do with the job I guess! But Dupont was different.
He was calm and focused on the game, he never whimpered and had a great personality on and off the pitch as well as a brilliant smile. This is what I saw then, is what everyone has just seen in the 6 Nations. His brilliance inspired France at the Grand Slam. Dupont is key to everything they do. Everything that France does well, Dupont is central.”
Nigel Owens likens the young Frenchman to a legend of Welsh rugby, Gareth Edwards, who won three Grand Slams with the Leek XV and raced world rugby in his day:
“Keep it up and maybe he’ll even be talked about in the same category as a Gareth Edwards. He was of course the best in the world for ten years, is still regarded by many as the greatest rugby player in history, rightly so. But as Dupont If we could play at this level for a few more years, it would at least be a bona fide debate.”
Freshly voted Best Player of the 6 Nations tournament, the scrum half and captain of the Blues is always a source of admiration and lately Nigel Owens. The former international referee even likens him to a Welsh rugby legend, Gareth Edwards.