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Antoine Dupont becomes first Frenchman to win EPCR European Player of the Year

By Sam Smith
Antoine Dupont (Inpho)

Antoine Dupont has capped an outstanding season by becoming the first French player to win the prestigious EPCR European Player of the Year award.

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The scrum-half had already scored four tries in this season’s Heineken Champions Cup before the final at Twickenham Stadium where he helped his club win a record fifth European title with a 22-17 victory over La Rochelle. Dupont was presented with the Anthony Foley Memorial Trophy as well as a watch, courtesy of official tournament partners, TISSOT.

In excess of 30,000 votes were registered on HeinekenChampionsCup.com and this record poll, combined with the opinions of a distinguished panel of rugby experts, eventually determined the winner for 2021. Dupont edged out club colleagues Jerome Kaino and Julien Marchand for the accolade, as well as Grégory Alldritt and Will Skelton of runners-up La Rochelle.

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Whilst Dupont is the first French player to be added to the Roll of Honour, he is the fifth representative of a TOP 14 club to win the award. Jonny Wilkinson (2013) and Steffon Armitage (2014) were honoured in victorious seasons for RC Toulon, whilst both Nick Abendanon (2015) and Leone Nakarawa (2018) were named Europe’s finest player after finishing as tournament runners-up with ASM Clermont Auvergne and Racing 92 respectively.

Judging panel
Erik Bonneval (beIN SPORTS), Bryan Habana (Channel 4), Sonja McLaughlan (BBC Radio 5 Live), Alan Quinlan (Virgin Media), Dimitri Yachvili (France Télévisions).

Roll of Honour
2021: Antoine Dupont (Toulouse)
2020: Sam Simmonds (Exeter Chiefs)
2019: Alex Goode (Saracens)
2018: Leone Nakarawa (Racing 92)
2017: Owen Farrell (Saracens)
2016: Maro Itoje (Saracens)
2015: Nick Abendanon (ASM Clermont Auvergne)
2014: Steffon?Armitage (RC Toulon)
2013: Jonny Wilkinson (RC Toulon)
2012: Rob Kearney (Leinster Rugby)
2011: Sean O’Brien (Leinster Rugby)
2010: Ronan O’Gara (Munster Rugby – best player of first 15 years of European club rugby)

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