France star Antoine Dupont has been named as the Guinness Six Nations Player of the Round after a scintillating display in France’s 50-10 victory over Italy.
Last year’s runners-up signalled their intent to get their hands on the coveted trophy for the first time since 2010 by notching seven tries on the opening weekend, with 2020 Player of the Championship Dupont at the heart of the action.
The 24-year-old contributed a try and four assists before being withdrawn on the hour, serving a pertinent reminder of his quality that has seen him lauded by many in the rugby world as the best scrum-half in the business.
It took less than six minutes for Dupont to set up his first try of the afternoon – feeding Dylan Cretin to crash over under the posts – while centre Gael Fickou then latched onto the No.9’s delicate dink over the Italian backline to dot down.
A smart kick and offload in the run up to Arthur Vincent’s score completed Dupont’s first-half work, before he helped himself to Les Bleus’ fifth – and his first – try of the Championship in the 53rd minute.
There was still time for Dupont to tee up Teddy Thomas for the first of his two tries, completing his tally of four assists that matches his total from the whole of last year’s Guinness Six Nations.
Besides his direct contribution to France’s free scoring, Dupont also made 80 metres from his eight carries, broke two tackles and helped his side gain 288 metres through his kicks.
The Toulouse lynchpin saw off fierce competition to take the Guinness Six Nations Player of Round prize with 55.1% of the vote, with Scotland pair Stuart Hogg (24.1%) and Hamish Watson (13.8%) impressing in an historic 11-6 win in England.
Wales’ Wyn Jones earned 7.0% of the vote having played a key part in Wales’ 21-16 win over Ireland, that got Wayne Pivac’s 2019 Grand Slam champions off to the perfect start this year.
All four nominees will look to continue their fine form in Round 2 in just a matter of days, with Italy’s trip to England on Saturday set to spark another bout of mouth-watering Guinness Six Nations action.
Guinness Six Nations Player of Round 1 vote result
Antoine Dupont (Italy v FRANCE): 55.1% Stuart Hogg (England v SCOTLAND): 24.1% Hamish Watson (England v SCOTLAND): 13.8% Wyn Jones (WALES v Ireland): 7.0%