Aaron Smith's verdict on scrum-half rival Antoine Dupont
All Blacks scrum-half Aaron Smith has said that “no one is near” the level of performance of France half-back Antoine Dupont at the moment. The Frenchman was once again at the heart of an impressive 50-10 win for the Les Bleus over Italy last weekend, scoring one try and assisting four more in a man of the match performance.
On the back of that display, Smith said that the 2020 player of the Six Nations is “on another level”. On top of that, he added that the 24-year-old is “the point of difference for both his club and country”.
With France fourth in the world rankings and sitting atop the Six Nations table after one round, as well as Toulouse currently leading the Top 14, it is hard to argue with Smith’s evaluation of Dupont’s influence.
“Antoine Dupont, this guy is on another level! No one is near him atm. He’s the point of difference for both his club and country. He’s helping me look at parts of my game to improve.”
The 97-cap All Black has been one of the premier No9s in world rugby over the past decade, having won the World Cup in 2015 and a Super Rugby title with the Highlanders that same year. In fact, he was a surprise omission from World Rugby’s team of the decade released last December.
— Aaron Smith (@Te_Nug) February 10, 2021
Therefore there is no better compliment that could be paid to Dupont than by a player of Smith’s calibre looking to the Toulouse scrum-half to help improve his game. Dupont is the poster boy of the French rugby renaissance under Fabien Galthie and looks poised to battle with the 32-year-old Smith over the coming years to be regarded as the best No9 in the world.
France travel to Dublin this Sunday to take on Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, where Dupont will face the official World Rugby scrum-half of the decade, Conor Murray.
Let's give thanks to his quick-thinking grassroots coaches ? https://t.co/NLgU4ma0cf
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 31, 2020
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