Oh ! That Fellow Dupont

Ok let’s get this straight right from the start, no one, and I mean no one, has, does, or ever will draw comparison to Gareth Edwards as the greatest scrum half I have ever seen in that evocative and glorious number nine shirt.

It has been almost blasphemous where I come from to even whisper the possibility of anyone coming close to the grand master.

Some folks in the dark corners of smoke filled rooms have nervously whispered about pretenders to the throne, but those who were mentioned never quite reached the Edwards benchmark.

Many have tried but as clear as the Welsh Knight follows day no one has really come close.

But Father I have sinned, I find myself harbouring immoral thoughts that there just might be someone perilously close to reaching that exalted pedestal which the man from Gwaun-Cae-Gurwen occupies.

Lannemezan is a town in the Hautes-Pyrenees about 26,000 years old. It is situated between Tarbes and Toulouse with a population of less than 6,000 people, an unremarkable town that is the birthplace of a remarkable scrum half, Antoine Dupont the man who is lighting up the rugby world.

The small French town also produced Pierre Berbizier another outstanding number nine who also went on to become the National coach.

The superlatives keep coming for the 5ft 9ins scrum half, incidentally the same measurements as Sir Gareth, he has it all, speed, strength, can kick off both feet and is a superb passer of the ball.

I count myself extremely fortunate to have seen both players in the flesh, the first time I saw Gareth play was for Cardiff against the All Blacks in Cardiff as a fourteen year old, and my first glimpse of Antoine took place at a packed Stade de France in 2017, the 100 minute match between France and Wales refereed by Wayne Barnes, which France won 20-18 as a fifty nine year old, I’m pretty sure I won’t see another scrum half as wonderful as those two.

Come the end of the Rugby World Cup this Autumn we might just have to make that lofty pedestal a tandem for Edwards and Dupont and If the greatest writer of the written word would have written that story, no one would have believed it. Cliff would have agreed I’m sure.


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