Aaron Smith has arguably been the best scrum-half in the world over the last decade. However, his grip on that claim has loosened with the rise of both South African Faf de Klerk and young French prodigy Antoine Dupont.
Dupont impressed once again during his side’s 50-10 victory over Italy in round one Six Nations action, leading many to say he’s not only the best 9 in the world but the best player overall. There’s no doubt, rugby is experiencing a surplus of world-class scrum-halves at the moment.
We’re living in an alternate universe and everyone is eligible. Who would you pick at nine for your country? 🤔🏉
— Rugbydump.com (@Rugbydump) February 9, 2021
The Kiwi playmaker even went one step further, admitting he has much to learn from his French counterpart.
The classy reaction is drawing praise from all corners.
@Dupont9A this guy is on another level! No one is near him atm. He’s the point of difference for both his Club and country. He’s helping me look at parts of my game to improve #Respect #9Gang
I’d say he’s watched a fair few clips of you my bro 🔥 But man is proper balling alright
— Lima Sopoaga (@LimaSopoaga) February 10, 2021
Love this 🙌🏻 Looking forward to the next time France and New Zealand play 👏🏼
— RenRugby2003 (@RenRugby2003) February 10, 2021
— ugo monye (@ugomonye) February 10, 2021
THIS!! Humility right here talking about a rival 9, huge respect to Aaron who’s a bloody decent pivotal player himself. #shotcuz
— Taz Hayden (@waynetazhayden) February 10, 2021
The praise wasn’t lost on Dupont.
☺️☺️☺️🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼#9Gang 🤝 @Te_Nug
— Antoine Dupont (@Dupont9A) February 10, 2021
France host New Zealand in Pool A at the 2023 World Cup. With French rugby currently on the ascendancy, the match gets more and more appealing by the day. Hopefully, both of these world-class competitors will be firing on all cylinders when the time comes.