France and Toulouse scrum-half Antoine Dupont has been crowned the Six Nations’ Player of the Championship for 2020.
First French winner
Dupont becomes the first ever Frenchman to be awarded one of rugby’s greatest individual accolades, a prize that has been won by an illustrious list of the game’s top players, including Brian O’Driscoll, Stuart Hogg, Andrea Masi and Shane Williams.
For the Six Nations award won by Dupont, ahead of going to a public vote, a shortlist of six nominees, three French, two English and one Irish, were chosen by an expert panel of distinguished rugby writers, former players and broadcasters from across the six participating countries.
The 23-year-old was a creative hub for his team, a menace with the ball in hand whose athleticism kept defences on the back foot, while also dovetailing effectively with half-back partner Romain Ntamack.
No scrum-half made more than Dupont’s 249 metres with ball in hand, while his 54 kicks for 1,543 metres (both Championship highs) proved there is another facet to his game outside his electric running in the open field. Dupont’s Championship-high 12 offloads showcased his ability to keep the ball alive.
#GUINNESSSIXNATIONS PLAYER OF THE CHAMPIONSHIP!
— Guinness Six Nations (@SixNationsRugby) November 6, 2020
Emily Scarratt wins Women’s award
Meanwhile England utility back Emily Scarratt was crowned as 2020’s Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship.
Scarratt, who became England’s highest ever points scorer during this year’s Women’s Six Nations, was crowned the first winner of this award after receiving the most votes from the head coach and team captain of each participating Women’s Six Nations team.
Scarratt played an instrumental role in England’s successful Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign, receiving one Player of the Match award, scoring two tries and kicking 19 conversions while also gaining her 90th cap during the Championship.
The 30-year-old’s try from close to the halfway line against France was vital as England got their campaign off to a winning start, sealing victory against the Red Roses’ fiercest Women’s Six Nations rivals.
She rounded out the campaign with a similarly impressive score against Italy as England won their fifth game to become back-to-back Grand Slam champions.
The Loughborough Lightning star played the most minutes out of any player in the Championship, starting every match and only being subbed off late in the second half in England’s Round 5 win against Italy as England secured the Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam.
Ben Morel, Chief Executive of Six Nations Rugby, said: “I would like to personally congratulate Antoine Dupont and Emily Scarratt.
“Antoine had an outstanding Championship. His talent clearly transcended borders with fans from all six unions giving him their support in huge numbers. To win this award at such a young age is quite some accomplishment. Bravo Antoine!
“Congratulations also to Emily on winning the first ever Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship award. She is an amazing player who beat tough competition to win this accolade. Well done Emily!”