How Ben Youngs and Antoine Dupont compare ahead of England v France

Duncan Bech, PA England Rugby Correspondent
·1-min read

‘Le Crunch’ is packed full of intriguing duels and none more so than the battle between England scrum-half Ben Youngs and his opposite number Antoine Dupont, France’s reigning player of the Six Nations.

Here, the PA news agency analyses both half-backs ahead of their battle at Twickenham on Saturday.

PA graphic showing a head-to-head of Ben Youngs v Antoine Dupont
PA Graphic

Ben Youngs – Leicester

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Youngs’ stranglehold on England’s number nine jersey has lasted over a decade and as his dummy against Wales in round three demonstrated, he remains a try-scoring threat. An excellent game manager with a strong kicking game, he is less dynamic than Dupont but is valued for his leadership and the direction he gives to his pack. Knows England fly-halves George Ford and Owen Farrell inside out and is unchallenged as Eddie Jones’ first-choice scrum-half. Still only 31 years old, many more caps await.

Antoine Dupont – Toulouse

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Undoubtedly the best scrum-half in the game, Dupont would also be the first name on a world XV team sheet on recent form with his influence on his those around him hard to overstate. Electric breaks, lethal support lines, a feel for space – his offensive repertoire has been central to France’s resurgence. But his wizardry extends beyond his threat with the ball for, despite his stature, he packs a punch in defence and has the cunning to diffuse opposition attacks. France demand generalship from their nines and Dupont is a master in this field.