Antoine Dupont has been crowned the 2022 Guinness Six Nations Player of the Championship after leading France to the Grand Slam.
The scrum-half became the first Frenchman to win the award in 2020 and now joins Brian O’Driscoll (2006, 2007 and 2009) and Stuart Hogg (2016 and 2017) in a select group of players to have won it on more than one occasion.
With previous skipper Charles Ollivon having been sidelined by a knee injury at the end of last season, Dupont took over the French captaincy during the Autumn Nations Series.
And he has enjoyed a dream spell in the role, winning his first eight games in charge including five in the 2022 Championship.
Dupont opened the campaign by setting up Damian Penaud in France’s 37-10 win over Italy before grabbing the opening try after barely a minute in the 30-24 success against Ireland.
France then went to Edinburgh to take on Scotland, with Dupont’s stunning counter-attack leading to a try for Paul Willemse that set them on their way to a 36-17 win.
After playing his part in the hard-fought 13-9 win in Wales, Dupont then provided the finishing touch to the Slam by popping up to run in the third try in the 25-13 win over England at the Stade de France, a game in which he also finished as France’s top tackler with 15.
Les Bleus had not won the Guinness Six Nations for 12 years, but just as they had in 2010, they clinched the clean sweep on home soil in Le Crunch to earn their first silverware since the arrival of Fabien Galthié.
Dupont was one of three nominees for the 2022 crown, alongside compatriot Grégory Alldritt and Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier.
And after a fan vote, Dupont emerged victorious to claim the prize for the second time.
Dupont said: “It’s always a pleasure and point of pride to receive prizes but it’s difficult because it’s a team sport. There are 15 of us on the pitch, 23 in the matchday squad and 50-60 who prepare for these games and these wins. I really want to thank my teammates today.”
Commenting on Dupont being named Player of The Championship, Ben Morel, CEO of Six Nations Rugby, said:
“Antoine is an incredibly worthy winner of this year’s Guinness Six Nations Player of The Championship title. He is a truly special player, and central to a France team that goes from strength to strength. He also has a gift to put fans on the edge of their seats whenever he has his hands on the rugby ball.
“This year’s Championship was incredible for so many reasons, and the final game in Paris was a fitting finale, with Antoine and his team winning a Grand Slam.
“With so many outstanding performances from the teams and players, the panel deciding this year’s award shortlist had a very difficult challenge and I would like to congratulate Josh and Grégory for being shortlisted, and on their performances throughout the Championship.”