The Toulouse scrum-half has won the last three Oscars d’Or Midi Olympique. But this year, several players are serious contenders for the prestigious individual award.
The 69th Midi Olympique Oscars could be historic. This Monday, one of the twenty-eight nominated for the title of best French player will be rewarded with the Oscar d’Or. After three years of Dupont hegemony, the prestigious trophy welcomes a myriad of contenders this year. The 2021-2022 season was a bottomless pit of pleasures between the grand slam achieved by the XV of France, the European coronation of La Rochelle and the Brennus for Montpellier. A time as the world’s first nation for the first time in its history, France has shown the extent of its talents one year before “its” World Cup. And behind Captain Dupont, who will aim for a fourth Oscar in a row, competition is raging to win the prize. Three candidates will be particularly scrutinized between Clermont, Toulouse and La Rochelle.
Grégory Alldritt, the golden force
A former FC Auch hides another. Alongside the captain of the Blues, Grégory Alldritt has had the greatest season of his young career to date. The number 8 from La Rochelle has never slowed down during a season as beautiful as it is exhausting for his body: twenty-eight starts in thirty games, more than two thousand minutes on the clock and an activity that is still just as remarkable. The destructive percussions and the colossal defensive work of the Rochelais were essential to the success of the Maritimes and the XV of France. In the jersey of the Blues, Alldritt has not known defeat since March 2021, in Scotland. Indisputable holder of the “slamards” group, the helmeted number 8 has gone up a notch compared to previous seasons. He is a more than legitimate contender for the Golden Oscar. Captain of the European champion Stade Rochelais against the great Leinster, the yellow and black third line has already marked the history of his city and the XV of France. In the semi-finals of the Champions Cup, Alldritt had already used his power to score a vital try for qualification. Crowned with two titles, the Gersois by birth could not however do anything to prevent Toulouse from qualifying for the semi-finals of the Top 14.
Romain Ntamack, Chief Manager
In a radically different style, the Toulouse opener is also among the favorites for the Oscar d’Or. Like his La Rochelle rival, Romain Ntamack turned a corner during this 2021-2022 season. From September to June, number 10 hovered over the red and black game. Admittedly, Toulouse did not lift a trophy but it was paradoxically the season when Ntamack became essential. Constantly exposed, the opener never got through in an important game. If the public remembers his fantastic ride against the All Blacks, the serenity and mastery of Romain Ntamack also allowed the Blues to grow. The French number 10 played all five matches of the Tournament. In competition with Matthieu Jalibert, the Toulousain took a step ahead of the Bordelais by establishing himself as the first strategist of the French three-quarter line. But the black point of the opener is collective. Les Rouge et Noir fell twice in the semi-finals (Champions Cup and Top 14) and were unable to keep their titles. Will these failures be decisive for the nomination of the Golden Oscar?
Damian Penaud, the indispensable tourbillon
Electric, blasting, whimsical… The qualifiers are starting to run out to define Damian Penaud. L’Ovni de Clermont proved last season that it was absolutely essential to ASM’s victories. Uncontrollable with the ball in hand, the Auvergne winger is undoubtedly the most essential player for his club among the contenders for the Oscar d’Or. Last season showed two Clermont teams: with and without the Habs. Author of twenty tries in all competitions, the native of Brive earned the honorary title of best French scorer of the season. His brilliant strokes have made it possible on many occasions to trigger or conclude decisive actions for the ASM and the XV of France. The “chelemard” winger may nevertheless regret not having been able to take part in the games of the final stages with Clermont, depriving him of shining for the umpteenth time. His place among the favorites for the prestigious Midi Olympique trophy is essentially due to the almost unique importance of a player in a system. Almost, behind the fourth favorite.
Antoine Dupont, for the quadruple
In the midst of the Rochelais colossus, the Toulouse metronome and the Clermont extraterrestrial, Antoine Dupont is also a favorite in his own succession. Voted best player in the world by World Rugby, the red and black scrum-half has won stripes in blue. Captain of the first French team titled since 2010, the Toulousain has accentuated his paw on the game of the French and his club. Since he has the armband in blue, Antoine Dupont has never experienced defeat in selection. If the “white” season of Stade Toulouse could weigh against him, the former Castres has no equivalent in the world. Loaded with prizes for the best player by the Six Nations Tournament, Canal + or Midi Olympique, Antoine Dupont never slacked off last season. Despite its meticulous and targeted use by Ugo Mola, the Toulouse number 9 does not intend to give up his Golden Oscar. If he were to win the prize for the fourth time in a row, Antoine Dupont would equal Serge Blanco, the only player to have achieved such a feat, between 1989 and 1992. The opportunity, once again, to mark the history of his sport and to climb to heights never before explored.
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