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Antoine Dupont named world player of the year

By Kim Ekin
PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 20: Antoine Dupont of France makes a break during the Autumn Nations Series match between France and New Zealand at the Stade de France on November 20, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

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French maestro Antoine Dupont has been named World Rugby’s World Player of the Year. Dupont is the first Frenchman to win the prestigious accolade since Thierry Dusautoir in 2011.

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The scrumhalf earned two-thirds of the public vote after leading the Fabien Galthie’s France in a brilliant 2021, two years out from a home Rugby World Cup in 2023.

World Rugby said: “The 25-year-old’s reading of the game, allied with his passing speed and turn of pace, invariably mean he’s in the right place to start or finish off a flowing French attack. He crossed for three tries in the Six Nations and then was handed the captaincy for the Autumn Nations Series, leading France to three wins, including a first over New Zealand on home soil since 2000.”

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He beat Michael Hooper, Maro Itoje and Samu Kerevi to the top spot.

England forward Zoe Aldcroft has been named World Rugby’s women’s player of the year for 2021.

The 25-year-old Gloucester-Hartpury second row beat England team-mate Poppy Cleall and French duo Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus to the award, which was determined by a poll of fans.

It completes a notable England double after Red Roses boss Simon Middleton was named coach of the year.

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Named England captain for the first time on her 25th birthday, Aldcroft led her team to an 89-0 victory over the USA and marked the occasion with a try.

She started all eight of England’s matches in 2021 as the Red Roses extended their unbeaten run to 18 Tests and won a third successive Women’s Six Nations title.

WORLD RUGBY’S DREAM TEAM:
1. Wyn Jones (Wales)
2. Malcolm Marx (South Africa)
3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland)
4. Maro Itoje (England)
5. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
6. Siya Kolisi (South Africa)
7. Michael Hooper (Australia)
8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
9. Antoine Dupont (France)
10. Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
11. Makazole Mapimpi (South Africa)
12. Samu Kerevi (Australia)
13. Lukhanyo Am (South Africa)
14. Will Jordan (New Zealand)
15. Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

– additional reporting PA

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