New Zealand scrum-half Aaron Smith described his France counterpart Antoine Dupont as the world’s top rugby player on Wednesday.
Replying to the Six Nations’ Twitter question “Who is the best rugby player in the world right now?”, the 32-year-old Smith went for Dupont.
“This guy is on another level! No one is near him atm. He’s the point of difference for both his club and country. He’s helping me look at parts of my game to improve.”
Smith has earned 97 caps for the All Blacks and helped them win one World Cup and six Rugby Championship titles.
The 24-year-old Dupont was named best player of last year’s Six Nations and in his 28th international he set up four tries in France’s 50-10 win over Italy on Saturday in their opening game of this year’s tournament.
Dupont again looms as a key figure as France head to Dublin on Sunday to face Ireland. A second straight win away from home will put France in a great position to take out the Six Nations, with home games against Scotland and Wales to come, and a trip to Twickenham to face England in between.
Smith, meanwhile, is preparing for the kick-off of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the competition on Wednesday confirming it would trial a captain’s referral alongside other law tweaks for the tournament’s second season.
The All Blacks scrum-half will be entering yet another season with the Highlanders, who have a new coach in former New Zealand fly-half Tony Brown.