Fixtures - Top Bar

Nominees for World Rugby Players of the Year announced

No fewer than three of Saracens’ Aviva Premiership Rugby winning stars have been named on the six-man shortlist for the prestigious men’s XVs Player of the Year award for 2016.

The gong, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at the Hilton London Metropole on 13 November, has not gone to an Englishman since 2003 when Jonny Wilkinson claimed it following a glittering performance at the Rugby World Cup.

But this year Aviva Premiership Rugby can boast half of the players shortlisted with Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola exciting and inspiring fans around the world with their feats this year.

As well as steering Saracens to a league and European Cup double, this year has seen 25-year-old Farrell utilised by coach Eddie Jones as an inside-centre – playing outside Bath Rugby’s George Ford as they did for England U20s.

The positional switch has not affected his influence however, and he finished the RBS 6 Nations as top points scorer with 69 and was named man of the match in the final Test against Australia in June.

Farrell is nominated for the second time, having lost out to Dan Carter in 2012, but for 22-year-old starlet Itoje – who truly broke onto the world stage this year – it is a first.

The youngest of the nominees, Itoje is also nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year accolade having only made his England debut off the bench against Italy in February.

England’s World Rugby U20 Championship-winning captain in 2014, Itoje shows a calmness and maturity beyond his years with nothing seeming to faze the second-row.

And last but by no means least, No.8 Vunipola has come of age in 2016, thriving under the guidance of Jones who has given him the responsibility of being one of England’s vice-captains.

Vunipola has played 29 tests since his debut in 2013 and was named man of the match three times in England’s Six Nations Grand Slam-winning campaign for his barnstorming displays.

They are joined on the list by two All Blacks in Beauden Barrett and Dane Coles, while Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip completes the line-up.

Both shortlists were selected by independent panels featuring former internationals and members of the media, who deliberated on every major Test from the Six Nations through to those on 5 November.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said: “It is testament to the current strength of the men’s and women’s 15s game that there was so much competition for these prestigious awards.

“There is class in abundance with New Zealand’s Barrett and Coles, England’s Vunipola, Itoje and Farrell and Ireland’s Heaslip. There is also a great mix of experienced, proven campaigners and exciting young talent.”

These awards are two of 12 categories of awards, including the World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby Coach of the Year, World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year in association with HSBC and World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year.

Previous World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year Award winners:

2015 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)

2014 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)

2013 – Kieran Read (New Zealand)

2012 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)

2011 – Thierry Dusautoir (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 Galthié (France)

2001 – Keith Wood (Ireland)

Previous World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year Award winners:

2015 – Kendra Cocksedge (New Zealand)

2014 – Magali Harvey (Canada)

2012 – Michaela Staniford (England)

2011 – Ruth Mitchell

2010 – Carla Hohepa (New Zealand)

2009 – Debby Hodgkinson (Australia)

2008 – Carol Isherwood

2007 – Sarah Corrigan

2006 – Maggie Alphonsi (England)

2005 – Farah Palmer (New Zealand)

2004 – Donna Kennedy (Scotland)

2003 – Kathy Flores (USA)

2002 – Monique Hirovanaa (New Zealand)

2001 – Shelley Rae (England)

Latest News

Newcastle Falcons sign Josh and Joel Matavesi

Newcastle Falcons’ ambitious recruitment plans for the 2017-18 season have advanced with the news that Fijian international Josh Matavesi and…

Josh Matavesi

Darren Allinson to re-join Bath Rugby on a two-year deal

Bath Rugby is pleased to announce that scrum-half Darren Allinson has agreed a deal to re-join the Club on a…

Darren Allinson

Northampton Saints confirms coaching structure

Northampton Saints has today confirmed the club’s new coaching structure for the 2017/18 season onwards. The structure both builds on…

Phil Dowson

Denny Solomona stars in remarklable Aviva Premiership Rugby weekend

The weekend’s remarkable action saw a number of Aviva Premiership Rugby records tumble, with Sale Sharks wing Denny Solomona leading…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

RFU Disciplinary: Steve Diamond

Steve Diamond of Sale Sharks will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel charged with conduct prejudicial to the interests of…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Exeter Chiefs’ Thomas Waldrom eyeing trophy charge

Exeter Chiefs No. 8 Thomas Waldrom insists his sights are firmly set on bringing silverware back to Sandy Park this…

Exeter Chiefs' Thomas Waldrom believes his side are well placed to target silverware this season

Aviva Premiership Rugby Weekend Round-up

Steve Diamond heaped praise on his home-grown Sale Sharks squad after they ran in four tries to claim a bonus-point…

Sam James, 22, was starting his 13th Aviva Premiership Rugby game of the season.

Bath Rugby set to bring the entertainment on and off the pitch at Twickenham Stadium for ‘The Clash’

Bath Rugby have announced that The Clash, one of the biggest domestic sporting events of 2017, will see an incredible…

Bath Rugby with the Wurzels

Match Reaction: Sale Sharks 34 Wasps 28

Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond heaped praise on history-maker Denny Solomona as his hat-trick laid the foundations for…

(Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Match Report: Newcastle Falcons 46 Northampton Saints 31

Sonatane Takulua scored a hat-trick as Newcastle Falcons staged a roaring second-half comeback to defeat Northampton Saints in a pulsating Aviva…

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Match Report: Sale Sharks 34 Wasps 28

Denny Solomona delivered one of the best individual displays ever seen at the AJ Bell Stadium as his hat-trick helped…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Under 18s Academy Finals Day – Reaction: Reffell delight at Saracens progress

Sean Reffell is confident Saracens Academy U18s have improved beyond recognition despite being beaten 36-26 by Worcester Warriors at the…

700001073_tm_7171_d6698f691e8f9dc1b10b6f49ee601ffe.jpg

Under 18s Academy Finals Day – Reaction: Rigby and Warriors gave everything

Young prop Nick Rigby admitted he could not have asked for anything more after finishing the Premiership Rugby U18 Academy…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library

Match Reaction: Leicester Tigers 50 Bristol Rugby 17

Aaron Mauger has backed his Leicester Tigers side to make the top four and qualify for the Aviva Premiership Rugby…

Telusa Veainu scored a brilliant first-half try on his return to Leicester Tigers colours

Match Reaction: Bath Rugby 22 Harlequins 12

Bath Rugby director of rugby Todd Blackadder admits his side were not at their best but was still delighted to…

Generated by  IJG JPEG Library