Zoe Aldcroft and Antoine Dupont named World Rugby’s players of the year for 2021 | Rugby Union News

Zoe Aldcroft beat England teammate Poppy Cleal and France’s Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus to win World Rugby Player of the Year award; Antoine Dupont becomes the third French winner of the men’s award

Last updated: 21/10/21 14:38


Zoe Aldcroft started all eight England games in 2021

England forward Zoe Aldcroft has been named World Rugby Player of the Year for 2021.

The 25-year-old Gloucester-Hartpury in the second row beat England teammate Poppy Cleall and French duo Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus for the award, which was determined by a fan poll.

Complete a remarkable England brace after Red Roses boss Simon Middleton was named manager of the year.

Named England captain for the first time on his 25th birthday, Aldcroft led his side to 89-0 victory over the United States and scored the occasion with a try.

She started all eight of England’s games in 2021 when the Red Roses extended their unbeaten run to 18 tests and won their third consecutive Women’s Six Nations title.

England signing Maro Itoje lost to France scrum-half Antoine Dupont for the men’s award.

The 27-year-old Saracens forward was in a shortlist of four finalists which also included Australian captain Michael Hooper and his fellow Wallabies Samu Kerevi.

Antoine Dupont helped Toulouse win a record fifth European Cup last May

Antoine Dupont helped Toulouse win a record fifth European Cup last May

Robust and explosively fast Dupont has been exceptional for France over the past two seasons, helping Bleus to return to being a competitive side under the leadership of Fabien Galthie after years of mediocrity.

25-year-old Dupont was exceptional at orchestrating the attacks as France finished the year with a 40-25 win over New Zealand. He captained the team in the Autumn Nations Series in the absence of skipper Charles Ollivon.

Dupont is the third Frenchman to take the award after Galthie won in 2012 and flanker Thierry Dusautoir in 2011 after leading France to the World Cup final.

Last year Dupont was voted best player in the men’s Six Nations, the first Frenchman to win the award. He stood out with his speed bursts from the back of the scrum, his perceptual passage and support run.

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