France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont was named World Rugby’s men’s player of the year while England lock Zoe Aldcroft won the women’s award, the governing body said on Friday.
The 25-year-old Dupont became the third Frenchman to win the award after Fabien Galthie, currently the national team coach, in 2012 and flanker Thierry Dusautoir in 2011.
Dupont beat Australian duo Michael Hooper and Samu Kerevi and England lock Maro Itoje to the award, which was determined by a vote from fans, after impressing for France and helping Toulouse to the Heineken Champions Cup and French Top 14 double.
“It’s hard to believe,” Dupont said. “To be named alongside two French players… they are legends of our sport, so it’s weird to see myself named in this list. You almost have the feeling of not deserving this place.”
Aldcroft started all eight of England’s matches this year and helped them win a third successive Six Nations title. The 25-year-old captained the Red Roses for the first time last month as they crushed the United States 89-0.
“I’m absolutely over the moon,” said Aldcroft, who won the vote ahead of England team mate Poppy Cleall and French duo Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus.
“Having seen the likes of Emily Scarratt and Sarah Hunter win this award in recent years and to follow in their footsteps is an amazing feeling.”