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World's fastest pass up for grabs when Smith and Dupont go head-to-head in unique challenge

BY Grant Constable  ·  Wednesday Jun 16, 2021

Scrum-halves Aaron Smith and Antoine Dupont are set to go head-to-head this week in an attempt to clock the fastest pass in rugby.

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This is part of World Rugby’s ‘Ultimate Rugby Challenges’, which has seen various players across the world compete in different challenges.

These have included Damian McKenzie and Leigh Halfpenny facing each other in a kick and chase challenge, as well as a competition to see who has the longest kick out of Elliot Daly and Jordie Barrett.

The latest edition will see two of the premier scrum-halves on the planet pitted against one another and will be broadcast this Friday.

Of course, the battle between these two on the pitch is one that much of the rugby world is relishing. The two players have only met once at Test match level, at the Stade de France in 2017 where the All Blacks ran out 38-18 victors.

Since that encounter, Dupont’s game has progressed immeasurably, and the 24-year-old is regarded as one of the best players in the world. Following Toulouse’s Heineken Champions Cup triumph last month, Dupont was named the European player of the year.

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Even Smith listed the Frenchman as the best player in the world earlier this year, saying he is “on another level.” The Highlanders No9 himself has been regarded as one of the leading scrum-halves over the past decade, and has been recognised in particular for the crispness and accuracy of his distribution.

Fans will have to wait until the autumn before the two players face each other again, when France host the All Blacks.

But in the meantime, Smith’s Highlanders face the Blues in the Super Rugby Trans-Tasman final on Saturday at Eden Park and Dupont’s Toulouse host Bordeaux-Begles in the Top 14 semi-finals later that day.

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