‘Annoyed’ England star’s verdict on Antoine Dupont ‘best ever’ debate

Adam Kyriacou
Alex Mitchell discusses the form of Antoine Dupont and how impressed he's been with Northampton team-mate Fin Smith.

Alex Mitchell discusses the form of Antoine Dupont and how impressed he's been with Northampton team-mate Fin Smith.

England scrum-half Alex Mitchell has joked that Antoine Dupont’s outstanding form is “annoying” and offered his view on whether he is rugby’s best-ever player.

Mitchell, who has enjoyed an excellent season for both club and country, is currently preparing for his club side Northampton’s Premiership final clash against Bath.

The 27-year-old’s attacking game has caught the eye of many observers as he impressively shot up the pecking order for England before the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

Dupont praise

Mitchell has since gone from strength to strength as a number nine and will be eager to cap a fine season by winning the Premiership title at Twickenham on Saturday.

However, the Saint admits that the bar being set by a certain France international is making it hard to be considered an elite scrum-half, with Dupont on another level.

“It is annoying when it’s your position because everybody looks at you and tries to compare you, but you’re not as good!” Mitchell said about the Les Bleus superstar.

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“He’s class and it’s nice to have someone like that to try to get after and try and do the things he is doing, which is amazing.”

The Northampton and England scrum-half added: “He’s one of the world’s best and if he carries on doing what he’s doing he is going to be one of the best ever.”

As mentioned, Mitchell is 80 minutes away from potentially getting his hands on the Premiership trophy, but Finn Russell’s Bath outfit are standing in their way.

However, the scrum-half believes the Saints have their own outstanding fly-half in their ranks and backs England international Fin Smith to lead their game-plan.

“We’ve got exactly the same thing. Fin has been awesome. He has been such a leader,” Mitchell said when discussing the quality of both 10s, Smith and Russell.

“It’s mental to think how young he is and the way he bosses boys around, regardless if it is Courtney Lawes or Alex Waller. He really does lead the squad. He has such a calm head on him for such a young lad. He’s been fantastic.

“He has shocked me in a way of how good he has been in all aspects of the game, not just on the pitch but off it as well. He has really fit into the squad and all the boys love him.”

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