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'If Dupont wasn't on the planet, we'd say this guy's the best No9'

By Josh Raisey
Antoine Dupont of France looks on during France Captain's run ahead of their Rugby World Cup France 2023 match against New Zealand at Stade de France on September 07, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

Being the second-best scrum-half in the world behind Antoine Dupont probably means that in any other era, you would be the best.


The Frenchman is held in such high regard by his peers that all other No9s can only really strive for the ‘best of the rest’ accolade, as they are competing with one of the greatest players of all time. But that does not detract from the other class acts that are in the game currently in the No9 jersey, as Dan Biggar pointed out recently.

The former Wales captain singled out Ireland and Leinster scrum-half Jamison Gibson-Park as the best player in the world at scrum-half behind Dupont recently on The Rugby Pod. 

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Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi on the next generation of stars at the Sharks

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi believes the Sharks are proving that they can build depth with the youngsters that they have in the system.

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Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi on the next generation of stars at the Sharks

Springbok hooker Bongi Mbonambi believes the Sharks are proving that they can build depth with the youngsters that they have in the system.

That came off the back of a hat-trick for the 32-year-old at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday against Leicester Tigers in the round of 16 in the Investec Champions Cup.

Though the New Zealand-born halfback is a different player to Dupont and possesses a different skillset, Biggar highlighted the control that he has on games, and how his role has grown since the retirement of Johnny Sexton at fly-half.

Match Summary

Penalty Goals
Drop Goals
Line Breaks
Turnovers Lost
Turnovers Won

“With Johnny [Sexton] retiring,” he said.

“Clearly he was the focal point of everything Leinster and Ireland did. But now you’ve got Jack Crowley at Ireland and you’ve got Ross Byrne at Leinster, who are clearly very experienced, but they probably look to Jamison Gibson-Park a little bit more for direction on the field.

“They probably look to him and say ‘right, what’s the option here?’ Rather than having a Johnny-type figure running the whole ship.


“For me, what’s more impressive about him – because Leinster play so many attacking phases and they move the ball – it is his error count. His error count is so low. Normally when you’ve got lots of ball and lots of play, you are going to make errors. But for me, he just takes the right decision.

“Taking the short side for his second try at the weekend, just the ability when to go back to James Lowe.

“If Antoine Dupont wasn’t on this planet, then we’d be saying this guy’s the best No9 in the world by a mile.”



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Abe 2 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

Not a fan of your picks. McReight is good at club level but he is too small for international level and has consistently disappointed there. Better to go for larger guys. Kemeney, Valentini, Hooper, Leota, Samu, Swinton, etc. Aalatoa and Nonga are woeful scrummagers and don’t offer much around the field. Wallabies will not win if the scrum falls to pieces. The fact that Faamissli hasn’t been developed is a tragedy. Need a scrum that doesn’t give away penalties. So looks like a Talakai maybe instead. Best scrummagers need to be selected. McDermott runs the ball too much and doesn’t fit into a structured attack like Schmidts. Gets isolated too often. Ok off the bench late but not for 60 mins. Goal kicking has to be one of the top 3 points for a 10 so that does in Gordon and O’Connor. Be better off going for lynagh on that front. Donaldson and Noah seem to be doing best of the established names. QC a better mentor type guy than OConnor as well if he’s playing. Daugunu has been the most consistent 13 and breaks the line a lot so must be in the squad. Joost has also been good. Richie Arnold playing well for Toulouse and is a preeminent lineout jumper so needs to be in. Latu also playing well for La Rochelle and is better scrummager than the Aussie choices so should be in. The big guy at the Tahs Amataroso I think it is needs to be developed as well. Otherwise the team will be too small. Hodge is a better choice at fullback than Wright. Latter makes too many mistakes. Not sure if Hodge available.

7 Go to comments
Turlough 6 hours ago
Four Leinster talking points after latest Champions Cup final loss

First of all: hats off to Toulouse an outstanding performance. Duponts kicking was phenomenal. Twice he challenged Keenan with amazing clearances from his 22 in extra time. Result was territory deep in Leinster half in the early part of extra time which lead to 2 penalties and the game. Remember also his two 50:22s? Now to Willis/Dupont. ANY slight isolation by a Leinster player resulted in a turnover penalty. How many turnovers in the Toulouse 22? Leinster’s defense was immense, they had opportunities in attack but they honestly looked like they had not spent enough time passing the ball in the training in the weeks preceding the final. Game management was poor. Toulouse’s scrum had crumbled. At 15-15 Leinster had a scrum advantage in a position that would be kickable for a scrum penalty. Leinster played on and missed a long range drop goal. You MUST take the scrum surely? Win penalty and its a shot at goal to win with time up. No penalty and you can attack and drop goal whatever. The distance from sideline penalties from Byrne was shocking. If you are kicking the line you must get close to that 5 metre line. How many times were Leinster forced to maul from 10-15 metres? Toulouse KNEW Leinster was going to kick and maul and clearly spent considerable training time neutralizing thuis threat. The maul was starting too far out, Toulouse were able to stop the heart of the drive. You must change tack and start kicking for goals. That said it always felt like Toulouse were the potent team on the day with Leinster under pressure and chasing. Even with their backline completely disrupted, Toulouse found a way. 9 Wins in their last 9 finals. Leinster will be there next year. But so will Toulouse/Northhampton etc. A great era of club rugby.

17 Go to comments
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