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Jamie Heaslip one of six nominees for World Rugby Player of the Year

The 32-year-old is hoping to become the second Irishman to win the award.

Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip celebrates the win against New Zealand.
Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip celebrates the win against New Zealand.
Image: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

LEINSTER AND IRELAND number eight Jamie Heaslip has been included on the six-man shortlist for the World Rugby Player of the Year award.

Heaslip is nominated for the gong alongside All Black pair Dane Coles and Beauden Barrett, and the England trio of Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

Coles and Barrett, who featured for the All Blacks in their 40-29 defeat to Ireland in Chicago on Saturday, were prominent in New Zealand’s 18-Test unbeaten run which was brought to a halt by Joe Schmidt’s side.

Barrett and Coles also helped the Hurricanes to their first Super Rugby title in August with a 20-3 victory against the Lions.

England have also had a remarkable year under coach Eddie Jones — winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and then completing a 3-0 series whitewash when touring Jones’ native Australia in June.

As well as playing key roles in England’s success, Farrell, Itoje and Vunipola helped Saracens to a remarkable Champions Cup and English Premiership double earlier this year.

Heaslip, Ireland’s vice-captain, was a key part of the national team which secured a first Test win in South Africa in June and skippered the Leinster side that reached the Pro12 final, only to come unstuck against Connacht in the decider.

The 32-year-old, who was also nominated for the award in 2009 (when Ireland won the Grand Slam), is hoping to become the second Irish player to win the award after Keith Wood’s success in 2001.

Brian O’Driscoll was also nominated for the award in 2009, as well as making the cut in 2001 and 2002, while Johnny Sexton was Ireland’s most recent nominee (2014).

Paul O’Connell (2006) and Gordon D’Arcy (2004) have also been shortlisted for the award since its inception in 2001.

World Rugby Player of the Year nominees:

  • Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
  • Dane Coles (New Zealand)
  • Owen Farrell (England)
  • Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
  • Maro Itoje (England)
  • Billy Vunipola (England)

Previous winners:

  • 2015: Dan Carter (New Zealand)
  • 2014: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
  • 2013: Kieran Read (New Zealand)
  • 2012: Dan Carter (New Zealand)
  • 2011: Thierry Dusatoir (France)
  • 2010: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
  • 2009: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
  • 2008: Shane Williams (Wales)
  • 2007: Bryan Habana (South Africa)
  • 2006: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
  • 2005: Dan Carter (New Zealand)
  • 2004: Schalk Burger (South Africa)
  • 2003: Jonny Wilkinson (England)
  • 2002: Fabien Galthie (France)
  • 2001: Keith Wood (Ireland)

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About the author:

Alan Waldron

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