France's Dupont suceeds Kolbe as Top 14 player of the year
published : 28 Sep 2021 at 07:45
PARIS: France scrum-half Antoine Dupont succeeded South Africa's Cheslin Kolbe as the French Top 14's player of the year on Monday.
Dupont helped Toulouse to just their second league and European Champions Cup double last season after Kolbe had claimed the award in 2019.
The 24-year-old will next feature for his country on November 6 against Argentina, Georgia eight days later and New Zealand on November 20.
"Beating the All Blacks would be an immense victory, a satisfaction, a step to take," Dupont said.
"The date is circled since we knew it was coming. It's an immense challenge in front of us, but it gives us motivation.
"They're a winning machine, they perform well whoever's on the field. They're favourites but it's up to us to upset the bookmakers's predictions," he added.
Australia lock Will Skelton as well Fiji winger Josua Tuisova, last term's top try-scorer, were also nominated for the award.
Despite featuring alongside Dupont in Toulouse's success, 2019 Rugby World Cup winner Kolbe went 13 games without scoring last term and has since joined Toulon for a reported record transfer fee of 1.8 million euros ($2.12 million).
Former Castres half-back Dupont also claimed the France international player award, edging fellow Auch academy products in flanker Anthony Jelonch and No 8 Gregory Alldritt at the ceremony held in Paris.
Dupont scored eleven tries and contributed seven assists in 20 appearances in all competitions as Toulouse claimed the double for the first time since 1996.
Last year's ceremony as well as the 2019-2020 Top 14 campaign were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Elsewhere, France full-back Melvyn Jaminet pipped Castres hooker Gaetan Barlot and Toulouse winger Mathis Lebel to the breakout player award.
Perpignan's Jaminet also beat Biarritz's former New Zealand centre Francis Saili and Vannes' Pierre Popelin to the ProD2 player award as the Catalans won promotion from the second-tier.
The 22-year-old scored 41 points during Les Bleus' three Tests against Australia this summer during his maiden international appearances in just his second campaign as a professional player.