Two Springboks in World XV

2013-12-07 00:00

CAPE TOWN — Two Springboks, lock Eben Etzebeth and hooker Bismarck du Plessis, have made it into the International Rugby Players’ Association’s (Irpa) World XV of the Year.

The “Irpas” — the first rugby awards judged by the players for the players — saw Australian AFL-convert Israel Folau win International Newcomer of the Year, and the players’ Team of the Year title bestowed on New Zealand, while All Black Kieran Read was named players’ Player of the Year.

Read was earlier also named IRB Player of the Year, as well as New Zealand Player of the Year.

The players’ World XV of the Year further comprises seven New Zealanders, four Welshmen and one player each from France and England.

There was stiff competition for places at loose-forward, where All Black Liam Messam just pipped Argentine Juan Fernandez Lobbe for the number-six berth, and in the halfback pairings, where New Zealanders Aaron Smith and Aaron Cruden received marginally more votes than Samoan Kahn Fotuali’i and Irish stand-off Johnny Sexton. However, the biggest bone of contention was in the midfield, with voting spread across four players: New Zealanders Ma’a Nonu and Conrad Smith, South African Jean de Villiers and French inside centre Wesley Fofana. 

IRPA AWARDS

Players’ World XV of the Year: 15 Leigh Halfpenny (Wal), 14 Ben Smith (NZ), 13 Conrad Smith (NZ), 12 Wesley Fofana (Fra), 11 George North (Wal), 10 Aaron Cruden (NZ), 9 Aaron Smith (NZ), 8 Kieran Read (NZ), 7 Sam Warburton (Wal), 6 Liam Messam (NZ), 5 Sam Whitelock (NZ), 4 Eben Etzebeth (SA), 3 Adam Jones (Wal), 2 Bismarck du Plessis (SA), 1 Alex Corbisiero (Eng).

Players’ Player of the Year: Kieran Read.

Players’ International Newcomer of the Year: Israel Folau (Aus). Players’ Team of the Year: NZ.

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