Rugby fans can start voting for their own International Player of the Year and World XV of the Year following the release of a 45-strong shortlist of contenders.
Part of the inaugural Ultimate Rugby IRPA Awards, the Fans’ Player of the Year, and World XV of the Year will be decided by votes cast on Ultimate Rugby’s mobile app, and announced in conjunction with other category winners on November 26.
For their World XV of the Year award, fans will be asked to pick one of the three nominated finalists in each of the 15 playing positions; for the Player of the Year they’ll be invited to choose just one name from the shortlist.
Anyone can vote as a fan: rugby enthusiasts, players, officials – even referees.
All they need to do is go to www.ultimaterugby.com, download the mobile app and follow the voting instructions contained within.
The 45-man shortlist, prepared by a panel of IRPA recently retired international players, features players from 11 nations.
World ranked No 1 New Zealand has the most entries with 14 players, followed by Wales (8), South Africa (5), France (4), Argentina (3), Samoa (3), Australia (3), Ireland (2), England (1), Italy (1) and Fiji (1).
The shortlist for the Fans’ Player and World XV of the Year awards (in order of playing position) is:
1. Vincent Debaty (Fra), Alex Corbiseiro (Eng), Marcos Ayerza (Arg)
2. Bismarck du Plessis (SA), Benjamin Kayser (Fra), Richard Hibbard (Wales)
3. Juan Figallo (Arg), Adam Jones (Wales), Census Johnston (Samoa)
4. Sam Whitelock (NZ), Eben Eztebeth (SA), Joe Tekori (Samoa)
5. James Horwill (Aus), Brodie Retallick (NZ), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales)
6. Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe (Arg), Louis Picomoles (Fra), Liam Messam (NZ)
7. Sean O’Brien (Ire), Richie McCaw (NZ), Francois Louw (SA)
8. Kieran Read (NZ), Sergio Parisse (Italy), Toby Faletau (Wales)
9. Kahn Fotuali’l (Samoa), Aaron Smith (NZ), Will Genia (Aus),
10. Dan Carter (NZ), Johnny Sexton (Ire), Aaron Cruden (NZ)
11. George North (Wales), Julian Savea (NZ), Sitiveni Sivivatu (NZ)
12. Jamie Roberts (Wales), Ma’a Nonu (NZ), Jean de Villiers (SA)
13. Wesley Fofana (Fra), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Conrad Smith (NZ)
14. Israel Folau (Aus), Ben Smith (NZ), Napolioni Nalaga (Fiji)
15. Willie Le Roux (SA), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales) Israel Dagg (NZ)