The International Rugby Board released the names of the five nominees on the shortlist for the prestigious IRB Player of the Year award.
The 2014 nominees are: Willie le Roux (South Africa), Brodie Retallick (New Zealand), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Jonathan Sexton (Ireland) and Duane Vermeulen (South Africa). The winner is set to be revealed at their nation’s final match of the year.
The judging panel comprises of Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace. They take into account all major Test played in 2014, starting with the Six Nations and culminating with the November internationals.
Personally I’d like to give the IRB an 80% mark. They have got 4 out of the 5 spot on, however I would’ve subbed Willie le Roux for Aussie ace Israel Folau. My pick for Player of the Year would be Julian Savea, although I strongly considered Retallick and Vermeulen. I would like to see Retallick win the award as only one tight forward (Keith Wood 2002) has ever won the award, but I feel Savea has been the real standout in the black machine in 2014.
Who would be your pick as Player of the Year? Have your say in the poll below:
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)