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Wednesday Nov 12, 2014

Five stars nominated for IRB World Rugby Player of the Year 2014

Five stars nominated for IRB World Rugby Player of the Year 2014
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The International Rugby Board has announced a shortlist of five nominees for the IRB World Rugby Player of the Year 2014. The list comprises five players that were selected after forty-five matches were reviewed by the panel. Three countries are represented.

Two South Africans, two New Zealanders and an Irishman make up the prestigious shortlist that features a spread across the field – two outside backs, a fly-half, a number eight and a lock.

As worded by the IRB, here is a little bit about each player and their 2014 performances.

WILLIE LE ROUX (South Africa) A strong and elusive runner from full-back, Willie le Roux has started all 10 of South Africa’s Tests in 2014 to take his tally to 22 Tests since his debut against Italy in June 2013. The 25-year-old, who has scored seven Test tries, is strong under the high ball and is potentially the most exciting South Africa outside back to come onto the scene since Bryan Habana.

BRODIE RETALLICK (New Zealand) A towering presence in the lineout, Brodie Retallick’s partnership with Sam Whitelock makes arguably the best second row in world rugby at present. The 23-year-old’s powerful runs and work-rate across the pitch have brought him to the fore in 2014. An IRB Junior World Championship winner in 2011, Retallick has 35 Tests and one try – against South Africa in the 2013 Rugby Championship – to his name.

JULIAN SAVEA (New Zealand) With a try-scoring rate that few can match, Julian Savea has inevitably drawn comparisons with legendary All Black wing Jonah Lomu this year. The 24-year-old has scored 10 tries in 2014, including a hat-trick against England in the third Test in June, to take his tally to 29 tries in just 31 Tests. Savea was named the IRB Junior Player of the Year in 2010 after helping New Zealand win a third successive IRB Junior World Championship title.

JONATHAN SEXTON (Ireland) The oldest of the nominees at 29, Jonathan Sexton has been the stand-out player for Ireland in 2014 as they claimed the Six Nations title, a first series win in Argentina in June and the scalp of South Africa in Dublin last weekend. His control of the game at fly-half and perfect record from the kicking tee earned the 49-Test veteran the man of the match award against the Springboks.

DUANE VERMEULEN (South Africa) A classic South African number 8, Duane Vermeulen has won plaudits across the world in 2014 for his work at the breakdown, power in the tackle and his destructive ball carrying. With 26 Tests to his name, the 28-year-old was named man of the man in South Africa’s 27-25 victory over world champions New Zealand in October with his battle with Kieran Read worth the admission price alone.

The IRB World Rugby Player of the Year 2014 nominees were selected by the independent IRB Awards panel, chaired by Australia’s Rugby World Cup 1999 winning captain John Eales.

The panel, comprising Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace, has deliberated on every major Test played in 2014, starting with the RBS Six Nations and culminating with the November internationals.

Previous winners include Kieran Read, Dan Carter, Thierry Dusautoir, Shane Williams, Bryan Habana, Schalk Burger, Jonny Wilkinson and Richie McCaw with the two All Black centurions the only players to have won the award on more than one occasion.

Who do you think is most deserving of the award this year?

31 Comments

  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    10:23 PM 14/11/2014

    JS as in Johnny sexton right, not Julian Savea? just checking... Le Roux is full back. But both Le roux and Savea have a phenomenal impact on the game, regardless of their position.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    3:18 PM 14/11/2014

    I am not sure if the November tests are when the two hemispheres are at their "best" per say, It is still early in the season for the North whereas the south is at the end of a very long year after a tough championship. I wonder how many days off pro players get these days given super rugby or club rugby extends 4-5 months. June and November are fully booked on international tours and then there is the business of rugby championships and 6 nations games which take about 2 months. The travel factor alone on the southern hemisphere tournaments is unbelievable which also adds to the insanity. Not sure how far the furthest game is for the top northern hemisphere players (apart from June tours). 4hrs maybe? -- just speculating here but the travel factor may play a big part in the lack of success in the June test window) That being said, I think the world cup years is when the teams are at their best given the lighter loads.

    Reply
  • facepalm
    2:35 PM 14/11/2014

    There must be a reason for doing the nominations so early. I'm currently sitting here scratching my head trying to think of one. Does anyone actually know why it's done like this?

    Reply
  • katman
    1:41 PM 14/11/2014

    For me it's between Vermeulen and Retallick. Both of them have been huge (literally and figuratively) this year. I feel that they have contributed more to their teams' successes than any backline players have. Obviously I'd like a South African to win, but if Retallick gets it, I'd be cool with that.

    Reply
  • jeromefromsp
    12:01 AM 14/11/2014

    mate, i'm a frog and you're not wrong about the quality of the French touring squad and of the French squad period! I am absolutely gutted by the rugby skills shown in the last 2 years by les bleus. Australia was good, but not THAT good. THough, Folau and Hooper deserved to be nominated as Ben Smith. This little ranking thing i s bulsh@y but we love to talk about it, don't we.

    Reply
  • reality
    11:50 PM 13/11/2014

    You've hit the nail on the head with your last point. Considering that the November tests are the time when the best of SANZAR and best of Europe clash, it's ludicrous that they nominate players after only one match out of three has been played. Anyone in Europe won't have played a really important match for 7 months, then they play one November test, and suddenly the nominations are announced.

    Reply
  • i_bleed_green_and_gold
    6:02 PM 13/11/2014

    the problem for the Northern hemisphere is that the 6 nations is at the beginning of the year. while the Rugby championship is still fresh in the minds of the voting panel. Had Ireland had some stiffer opposition during their summer tour and solid performances Sexton's nomination would seem justified. Although le roux had a great June season and end of year tour last November I did not think he was that much of a stand out during the championship. The Aussies could feel hard done by given the super rugby season Hooper and Folau had but they did not really win anything else as a team. lost to arg, lost to NZ twice. The 3-0 sweep over the french does not really constitute a tough challenge given the quality of the touring french side. ( i may be wrong here) Ben smith could feel hard done by given his performances all year. performed well against top opposition ( SA (twice), Australia ( 3 times), England 4 times) and Argentina (twice). Savea had a great year as did retalick. Both would not be out of place as the player of the year. However, My gut is telling me that Vermeulen will win it- The "played and won MOM against all blacks with Broken ribs" byline working in his favor ( not sure they were broken but certainly in no condition to play the All Blacks) I think the nominations are a bit premature given that we are only 1 game into the November tests though.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    5:38 PM 13/11/2014

    I think you're doing him a disservice. For my money, the best NH player over the year. (I thought he was 6N player of the tournament, so was it Mike Brown?) There's plenty of good players who've inevitably missed out. McCaw, Aaron and Ben Smith, Folau, Hooper off the top of my head... but Sexton is not out of place on the short-list.

    Reply
  • drg
    4:51 PM 13/11/2014

    A jokes never funny the second time you hear it...the first time was 2009..

    Reply
  • danknapp
    4:19 PM 13/11/2014

    I'm with WickedSick. Mike Brown has been great, but he hasn't been THAT great.

    Reply
  • danknapp
    4:17 PM 13/11/2014

    I wouldn't nominate a single Englishman, Scotsman or Welshman. Sexton is probably the closest we've got. I'd vote Duane Vermeulen, but only because if I don't he'll eat me.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    3:08 PM 13/11/2014

    No he hasn't, he's been decent. Better than any 10 in Europe but that's not saying much. He had an ok six nations (wasn't even player of the tournament) ok summer tests and a good game against South Africa, that's it. If he wins, it'll be beyond a joke.

    Reply
  • reality
    2:48 PM 13/11/2014

    I don't know if I'm missing something or if you are, but I think Sexton has been excellent. In spite of all the talk about England being the All Blacks' biggest challenger, Ireland won the Six Nations and England only beat them by one score at home. Sexton was instrumental in all of this and he is widely regarded as the best outhalf in Europe, and even outside of Europe there are few competitors. The fact that he's been average for Racing is irrelevant here; what counts are his international performances. He was excellent in the Six Nations and has been excellent so far in the November tests, and was even excellent last year for the Lions. More than that I don't see what he needs to do.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    1:34 PM 13/11/2014

    Thanks for the patronising comment. If you watched his form in the 6 Nations I think its fair to say that he can be at the same level. Do you know any other international player to get MOTM 3 times in 5 games this year? Hence why I feel he should have at least gotten a nomination. As for the list, probably Savea. Guy is a beast.

    Reply
  • oldflyhalf
    1:19 PM 13/11/2014

    My opinion/shortlist : - J. Savea, - B. Smith, - W. Le Roux, - B. Retallick, - P. O`Connell, - J.Sexton, - M. Brown -a real talent, for determining and the pleasure with which play rugby and for a real fair-play.

    Reply
  • colombes
    11:51 AM 13/11/2014

    Savea for the stats or Sexton for his influence during the last 6N

    Reply
  • wickedsick
    9:59 AM 13/11/2014

    I scratched my head at Jonny Sexton actually.... if he hadn't had played well vs a misfiring boks, would be still be on the list? Folau has had a huge year, scoring against the very best, but so has Savea.... Man it is a tough one, huge game changers, I would mind seeing Le Roux, but I know he won't win it.

    Reply
  • wickedsick
    9:56 AM 13/11/2014

    You clearly must be an England fan.... Although I agree he has played well, he is no where near the level of these guys. Sorry bud.

    Reply
  • jimmy23
    7:57 AM 13/11/2014

    I know he hasn't exactly reached those heights since, but with 3 MOTM performances in the 6 nations surely Mike Brown should have at least got a nomination?

    Reply
  • 10stonenumber10
    1:10 AM 13/11/2014

    5 of the 6 nations represented in the judging panel, nz, south africa... but no Italy or Australia? Ben Smith has to be somewhere near that group too

    Reply
  • facepalm
    12:44 AM 13/11/2014

    This would be my shortlist (in order): Savea Hooper Folau Vermeulen Aaron Smith

    Reply
  • 11:30 PM 12/11/2014

    No real standout for me, but I guess savea

    Reply
  • 11:29 PM 12/11/2014

    Yeah surprised he wasn't included?

    Reply
  • francescocastro
    10:56 PM 12/11/2014

    Israel Folau......

    Reply
  • jeromefromsp
    10:51 PM 12/11/2014

    McCaw could have easily been in this list if not injured. His come back is amazing so far

    Reply
  • loufine
    10:21 PM 12/11/2014

    Good point, only Ireland would have taken 2nd slot had they won by a larger margin against SA Paul O'Connell if for nothing else His intensity in commitment, leadership and Play at the breakdown! Some Welsh And French with the odd Scot Italian and English player thrown in! SH rugby is becoming predictable and although the AB are absolutely magnificent both as a team and to watch.... I believe there will be a bigger swing by NH which will dominate the RWC!

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    10:11 PM 12/11/2014

    Vermeulen took his game to another level too. Bottom line is you can make a good case for any of these blokes. I tend to think just getting nominated is reward enough, and on my list of most remarkable world rugby stats, Richie McCaw with 8 nominations (and 3 wins), that's mind-blowing.

    Reply
  • reality
    9:03 PM 12/11/2014

    Why is it a token nomination? He's been excellent all year.

    Reply
  • welshosprey
    7:44 PM 12/11/2014

    LOL @ Sexton, talk about a token nomination. Where's Hooper? Read? Cruden? Even Mccaw has been better than most of the players nominated there.

    Reply
  • eddie-g
    5:12 PM 12/11/2014

    I don't know how you choose between Sexton, Savea and Vermuelen. Totally different players, but all massive contributors this year.

    Reply
  • notawelshdavies
    4:56 PM 12/11/2014

    I'd be happy to see either Vermeulen or Le Roux win

    Reply


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