Two SA players up for top rugby award

2014-11-13 00:00

FIVE of the best rugby players in the world have been nominated for the coveted IRB World Rugby Player of the Year award.

Springbok fullback Willie le Roux and eighthman Duane Vermeulen were named alongside Ireland’s flyhalf Jonathan Sexton, All Black lock Brodie Retallick and wing Julian Savea as the five nominees.

The winner of the award will be announced after their team’s final match of the season.

The players were nominated by an independent IRB Awards panel that is chaired by Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales. The other panellists include Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.

These rugby legends looked at every Test this year in order to identify the best players on the international arena.

“As always the panellists’ independent deliberations have produced a worthy list of contenders among a strong field. It has been a year where we have seen a levelling in competition with unpredictability in so many games now. With a spread of a couple of outside backs, a flyhalf, a back-rower and a lock in contention it is not going to be an easy selection to determine the player of the year,” Eales said.

Previous winners of the award include Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Thierry Dusautoir, Shane Williams, Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Jonny Wilkinson and Richie McCaw. Carter and McCaw are the only two players to have won the award more than once.

There are 11 other awards being handed out at the end of the year including the IRB World Rugby Coach of the Year, IRB World Rugby Team of the Year, IRB Women’s Player of the Year, IRB Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC, IRB Women’s Sevens Player of the Year and IRB Junior Player of the Year.

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