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Breakdown year in review: Dupont and Smith shine the most | Rugby federation

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Players of the year

1) Antoine Dupont (France) The new Gareth Edwards? And still only 25.

2) Finn Russell (Scotland) So much fun to watch, a punk poet in a world of prescriptive prose.

3) Jaz joyce (Wales) A pioneer of women’s rugby, in every sense of the word.

Head Coach of the Year

Simon middleton The England women’s squad is now scary, but their team culture also reflects those in charge well.

Result of the year

March 6, 2021: Cornish Pirates 25 Saracens 17 Too bad no fan was allowed at Mennaye Field to watch this deserved underdog triumph.

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Luke Scully begins the Pirates of Cornwall celebrations. Photograph: Matt Impey / Shutterstock

Most reliable game changer

Marcus Smith (Harlequins) The opener’s contributions as Quins came back 28-0 to beat Bristol in the semifinals and then topple Exeter in the final to be crowned Premiership champion have been remarkable.

Rugby Ambassadors of the Year

Kevin Sinfield (Leicester) Running 101 miles in 24 hours from Leeds to Leicester to raise funds and raise awareness of motor neuron disease research and awareness, in tribute to his former Leeds rugby league teammate Rob Burrow is just his latest epic feat.

Ashton Hewitt (Dragons) An inspiring voice in the fight against racism in rugby and sport, summed up by his opinion on the importance of kneeling. “People can say, ‘What does this really do about racism? I said to them, “What are you really doing to fight it?

Matt Hampson, the old Leicester prop, on the emotional pressure of Covid for people with disabilities: “When you have underlying health problems, it is very scary. It has been very, very stressful for a lot of people.

Most significant international developments

France defeating New Zealand 40-25 a week after the All Blacks lost to Ireland in Dublin have prepared beautifully for the next 18 months leading up to the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

the regulatory change which will allow doubly eligible players, starting next month, to qualify for another country after a three-year suspension period. Will dramatically improve the depth of some – if not all – countries.

The biggest disappointment

British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa Don’t rush to rewind the so-called highlights. And please, may this be the last fan-less Lions tour in history.

Return of the year

Impossible to overtake Alun wyn jonesLazarus’s impression of becoming captain of the Lions against the Springboks.

Most influential Premiership players

André Esterhuizen (Harlequins), Alex dombrandt (Harlequins), Tyrone Green (Harlequins).

Most mobile team

Fair play at Leicester Tigers, a club whose gaze has totally changed.

Gold Boot Award

Nic White (Australia) The first man to successfully perform a 50:22 in a major test.

The most pleasant sites visited

1 Mennaye Field, Penzance (see above).

2 Recreation ground, Redruth.

3 Veritas Park, Taunton.

Best law initiative

When Luke Pearce set Billy Vunipola 20 yards back for repeated acts of gossip during the Saracens’ game against Exeter in early December, it reintroduced a concept every official should consider embracing.

Best expert

David Flatman Dropping the Channel 5 highlights showing he took on his loyal stunt double Mark Durden-Smith was a serious PR target for the English game.

Best / Worst Video Producer

Rassie Erasmus Listen, every man for himself, but at least the Springboks big boss’s love for video expression spawned the fun @RassieDance where he can now be found unsteadily grooving to everyone from Abba to the publishers.

Best written letter

The one sent to the Irish government by 62 current and former players expressing their collective concern about the Irish Rugby Football Union’s commitment to women’s rugby.

Iconic lions unfortunately extinct

Jean Pullin (England), Sandy Carmichael (Scotland), John dawes (Wales).

The most telling quotes

“I spent several years thinking I was going crazy. At one point, that’s really what I thought. It was the constant headaches and all these things going on that I couldn’t figure out “- the old All Black accessory Carl Hayman, 42, reveals that he suffers from premature dementia.

“It’s very special and if rugby were to lose it, it would be a parody” – Alun wyn jones on the future of Lions tours.

“I believe the game is already past a time when the 10 must be attackers” – Gregor Townsend reflects the changing focus of the game.

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Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend addresses his team ahead of their Six Nations game against France in Paris in March. Photograph: Dave Winter / Inpho / Shutterstock

“Let’s not beat around the bush, I think a lot of people were looking at me in a weird way. I fully understand why they would have that image because there are not many women in sport at a higher level “- the admirable Managing Director of Leicester, Andrea Pinchen.

“He doesn’t know and I don’t know how good he can be … but we intend to find out” – Eddie jones on his back lineman Tom Curry.

“People have to respect what the championship is. We have to keep going and there have to be investments “- Cornish Pirates Head Coach, Alan paver, pleads for better treatment for English second division clubs.

“Sometimes I’m not sure what I’m going to do. My body is taking over completely “- South Africa star winger Cheslin kolbe.

Best Rugby Books Read

This Is Your Everest: The Lions, The Springboks and the Epic Tour of 1997 by Tom English and Peter Burns (Polaris)

Crossing The Line directed by Willie Anderson with Brendan Fanning (Reach Sport)

Center Stage, My Life in Rugby directed by Jamie Roberts with Ross Harries (Hodder & Stoughton)

The Flying Prince Alexander Obelensky by Hugh Godwin (Hodder & Stoughton)

A Summer Week by Floyd Steadman (ASM)

The Silences by Claudio Fava (Polaris)

Promising players to follow in 2022

James Hume (Ulster), Dan Sheehan (Leinster), James Dobie (Glasgow), Christ Tshiunza (Exeter), Jack van Poortvliet (Leicester).

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Leicester’s Jack van Poortvliet is a player to watch in 2022. Photograph: David Rogers / Getty Images

Three hopes for 2022

Rugby without Covid played in front of full crowds. Is that really too much to ask?

A successful World Cup in New Zealand which is transforming perceptions of women’s rugby.

More support for former players with dementia precocious.

This is an excerpt from our rugby union mail, The Breakdown. To sign up and receive the full email, just visit this page and follow the instructions.

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