'His level is untouchable" - Seán O'Brien hails Antoine Dupont as world's best 2 months ago

'His level is untouchable" - Seán O'Brien hails Antoine Dupont as world's best

"There's no-one getting near him."

In early December, Antoine Dupont is favoured to pick up the World Rugby Player of the Year award. While they're at it, the Toulouse No.9 should be given the 2020 award that was never taken off the shelf.

Advertisement

World Rugby officials decided, last year, to forgo the end-of-season awards in light of a severely disrupted stretch caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Antoine Dupont and Robert Lewandowski were both on track to win 'best player' accolades in rugby and football, but it was not to be.

This year, after a rip-roaring run that includes narrowly missing out on Six Nations glory, helping Toulouse to a European Cup and France to a big win over the All Blacks, Dupont is set to make up for lost time [and awards].

On the latest House of Rugby episode [LISTEN from 11:40 below], hosts Seán O'Brien and Alex Goode reflected on the Autumn Nations Series and selected their best players from the past month of action.

Caelan Doris Caelan Doris pictured at the Aviva Stadium after Ireland's victory over Argentina. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)
Advertisement

Huge praise for Antoine Dupont, Caelan Doris and Taine Basham

Looking back on the 2021 Autumn Nations Series, Seán O'Brien marvelled about France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont, who is favourite to win World Rugby Player of the Year.

"Dupont, what a player," he declared.

"He's outrageous, at the minute... his level is untouchable. There's no-one getting near him. He's top of the pile, for me."

In discussing the players that impressed them most, Alex Goode went first and had a certain Ireland forward in mind. The Saracens and England star commented, "For me, the player of this autumn was Caelan Doris.

Advertisement

"I'd say that not many people would have named him as a household name, beforehand. He's new enough to the international scene, and the way he's played has been just brilliant. He's come into the Leinster and Ireland set-up and just gone up, and up, and up. He had someone [Seán O'Brien] in his way that was taking his time to retire and getting in his way! And look how well he's doing now."

Antoine Dupont among six 'Best Player' nominees

The panel that have selected the Autumn Nations Series' best player nominations clearly agree with O'Brien and Goode. The six-man nominees are: Caelan Doris, French duo Antoine Dupont and Roman Ntamack, Springbok lock Eben Etzebeth and England pair Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith.

Advertisement

O'Brien, who left Leinster for London Irish in 2019, agrees that Doris has been "phenomenal". He named a few other players, aside from Dupont, that impressed him during the Test window. "I thought Garry Ringrose was unbelievable," he said. "Romain Ntamack, as well."

"If I was to go for a guy that has most impressed me, though, I'd probably pick [Wales flanker] Taine Basham. I knew what Caelan was about and it was just a matter of time, once he came on to the scene, like he has at this international level over the last few weeks against the bigger teams."

"Basham, for me," he added, "because he's almost come out of nowhere and now he's an international players at a very high level. He's someone that's going to be very important for Wales."

WATCH THAT FULL EPISODE HERE:

Advertisement