The IRB (International Rugby Board) have announced the shortlist for the prestigious IRB Player Of The Year award for 2014. The award,which was first awarded in 2001 to Ireland's Keith Wood, has nominated five players for their performances in the international game.
Ireland's Jonny Sexton is the first Irish nomination since Brian O'Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip in 2009, and will look to be the first Irish winner since Keith Wood in that first year. Sexton is the Northern Hemisphere's only representative in the nominations which also includes All Blacks Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea, and South Africans Willie le Roux and Duane Vermuelen.
Sexton is only the 6th Irish player to ever have been nominated after Wood, O'Driscoll (3 times), Heaslip, Paul O'Connell and Gordon D'Arcy.
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Balls extends our congratulations to Jonny, and here's a tribute to the great man.