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Dublin: 17 °C Saturday 15 August, 2020

Who's the man? IRB announces Player of the Year shortlist

International rugby’s governing body has announced its shortlist for this season’s awards. Five of the six nominees ply their trade in the southern hemisphere.

All Blacks blinside Jerome Kaino has scored 4 tried during the World Cup.
All Blacks blinside Jerome Kaino has scored 4 tried during the World Cup.
Image: Ross Land/AP/Press Association Images

WITH THE 2011 Rugby World Cup building to a climax, the International Rugby Board has taken the opportunity to announce its shortlist for this season’s Player of the Year honours.

Judged by a panel of prominent experts, including the likes of Francois Pienaar, Tana Umaga and Ireland’s own Paul Wallace, the award has been dubbed “the ultimate accolade for a player to receive in his career”.

All but one of the names in the running for this year’s award hail from the Southern Hemisphere.

Antipodean powerhouses New Zealand dominate the list with a trio of nominations– veterans Ma’a Nonu, Jerome Kaino and Piri Weepu– while Tri-Nations champions Australia are rewarded for their recent success with a pair of nominations, for Will Genia and David Pocock.

French flanker Thierry Dusatoir is Europe’s sole nominee.

Ex-Australia international John Eales, who chairs the panel of judges, told the official World Cup website that the tournament’s conclusion will likely prove decisive in determining the award’s recipient.

“This has been one of the closest years to date. In fact the result could be influenced significantly by the next two matches and that’s what it should be like in a World Cup year.”

The omission of New Zealand captain Richie McCaw from the shortlist brings to an end the openside’s recent domination of the award. After victories in 2009 and 2010, he had been bidding to secure an unprecedented third consecutive title.

Previous winners of the award include Schalk Burger (2004), Shane Williams (2008) and Keith Wood (2001).

Of the six nominees, who do you think is most worthy of the award?

Poll Results:

Ma'a Nonu (68)
David Pocock (64)
Piri Weepu (51)
Thierry Dusatoir (31)
Jerome Kaino (28)
Will Genia (15)

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