World Rugby publishes Player of the Year shortlists
The candidates for the Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year awards have been announced.
World Rugby has announced the shortlists for the 2017 Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year awards, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 26 November.
Both shortlists were chosen by the star-studded World Rugby awards panel, comprising previous winners Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi and former England coach Clive Woodward alongside Brian O’Driscoll, Fabien Galthié and Agustín Pichot.
Along with the panel, the decision will be made by fans, international captains, coaches and media.
The voting for fans was opened on Monday and will run until Sunday midnight on World Rugby’s official website.
The shortlist for the Breakthrough Player of the Year has also been published.
World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year nominees
After a brilliant season, the All Blacks’ Beauden Barrett could become the second player to win the award for two years in a row.
Also nominated is fellow New Zealander Rieko Ioane, the youngest on the shortlist at only 20.
England and Lions’ Owen Farrell was nominated for the second straight year and for a third in total.
Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2016, the British lock Mario Itoje was also nominated for a second consecutive year.
Israel Folau’s bright year didn’t go unnoticed, as the fullback was also included in the shortlist. The Australian is the oldest of the five contenders at 28.
World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year nominees
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, New Zealand’s Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman – both winners of the World Cup in August – are among the five nominees.
France’s Romane Menager and Safi N’Diaye are also on the shortlist, together with England’s Lydia Thompson
Breakthrough Player of the Year shortlist
Three names were included on this year’s shortlist for the Breakthrough Player of the Year.
The nominees are Argentina’s Emiliano Boffelli, New Zealand’s Rieko Ioane and France’s Damian Penaud.
Regarding the announcements, World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont said: "There have been numerous highlights from a fascinating year of international rugby that comprised an outstanding Women’s Rugby World Cup, a compelling British and Irish Lions tour, Six Nations and The Rugby Championship competitions and a superb programme of test rugby.
"As ever, the selection of Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year nominees by the panel has excellence as the core consideration and all are not just superb players, but role models.
"I am sure there will be lots of debate over the coming weeks. I’d like to thank the panel for their expert consideration and look forward to the winners being announced at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco."