It’s a big hit for Antoine Dupont: the scrum half from Toulouse and the French XV was named best player in the Top 14 and best Blue of last season, Monday November 20, during Rugby Night. Dupont (27 years old, 52 caps) had already signed this same double two years ago.
“It obviously validates the work and the fact of not just having a good season but of being able to string them together”, he reacted after receiving his trophies during the ceremony organized at the Olympia. In the Top 14, he succeeds Montpellier’s English third row Zach Mercer, crowned best player in the championship last season and has since moved to Gloucester.
The number 9 from Stade Toulouse also won the title of best French international for the third time and consecutively, this year ahead of the third row of La Rochelle Grégory Alldritt and the winger of Clermont then Bordeaux-Bègles Damian Penaud. “Having the recognition of your peers, whether it’s the other players who elect me, it’s true that it means a lot and it’s always nice to feel recognized by the people we play against every weekend”added Antoine Dupont.
From the French XV to rugby sevens
A leading figure in French rugby, captain of the Blues, quarter-finalist of the 2023 World Cup, Dupont will join, from January, the group which will prepare the sevens rugby event for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (JO). , effectively ignoring the next edition of the Six Nations Tournament.
“For any sports fan, the Olympic Games are legendary. It is perhaps a little less so for rugby fans where we have less of this appetite since the sport has only recently been available. Despite that, being able to host this sporting event in France is going to be an incredible celebration: being able to be part of it and, above all, being able to compete for an Olympic medal, it’s a very motivating challenge.”confided Antoine Dupont during Rugby Night.
He could participate in two tournaments on the world rugby sevens circuit in Vancouver, Canada (February 23 to 25) and Los Angeles, United States (March 2 and 3). “It is certain that there will be a time of adaptation necessary”he continued.
Because Antoine Dupont, best fifteen player in the world in 2021, will have to convince the general manager of the French sevens rugby team, Christophe Reigt, and the coach, Jérôme Daret: he has no urance of competing in the Olympics, won by Fiji, in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 2016 then in Tokyo in 2021.
“Antoine has a very rugby attitude: he doesn’t want to be parachuted. He knows that, in a team, you earn your place. If he makes the Games, and he said he wants to make them, it’s a superb lead even if we will have to do without him in the Six Nations Tournament. But, frankly, what a beautiful image for rugby sevens and for the country! It will be an important standard bearer”said for his part the president of the French Rugby Federation, Florian Grill.
Toulouse and Oyonnax crowned, a very red and black record
The Rouge et Noir, reigning French champions, completed their harvest with the best staff trophy, awarded to Ugo Mola, Laurent Thuéry, Clément Poitrenaud and Jean Bouilhou. Then that of the best try, scored by Toulouse fly-half Romain Ntamack, in the Top 14 final, against La Rochelle (29-26), at the end of a crazy race of almost 50 meters.
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Oyonnax pillar Thomas Laclayat, who joined Racing 92 this summer, was named best player in Pro D2 while young Pau center Emilien Gailleton was the revelation of last season.
Blagnac center Gabrielle Vernier, who was named one of World Rugby’s best players of the year, won the title of best international.
Finally, Mathieu Raynal, the only French referee selected to officiate as main referee during the last World Cup, was named referee of the year.
The complete list of winners for Rugby Night 2023
- Best player in the Top 14: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
- Best Pro D2 player: Thomas Laclayat (Oyonnax, then Racing 92)
- Revelation of the year: Emilien Gailleton (Pau)
- Best French international player: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
- Best Supersevens player: Esteban Capilla (Bayonne)
- Best French international player: Gabrielle Vernier (Blagnac)
- Referee of the year: Mathieu Raynal
- Best staff of the Top 14: Toulouse (Mola, Bouilhou, Poitrenaud, Thuéry)
- Best Pro D2 staff: Oyonnax (El Abd, Cibray, Codling, Debaty)
- Best try: Romain Ntamack (Toulouse), against La Rochelle
The World with AFP