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World Rugby Have Made Yet Another Mistake With The Player Of The Year Award

World Rugby Have Made Yet Another Mistake With The Player Of The Year Award
By Conor O'Leary Updated

Last night, Dan Carter joined Richie McCaw as the only three-time winners of the World Rugby Player of the year title. Both New Zealand legends have three awards each, and while both have had long distinguished careers that merit the awards that they have won.

But there is a huge argument to say that at least two of their World Rugby Player of the Year awards came in years where they weren't the best player in the world.

 

In 2015 - the rugby world bowed down before David Pocock. It's beyond absurd to suggest that he wasn't the best player in the sport. He had a full international year of high quality rugby, and made a huge difference to Australia when he played compared to when he didn't.

Can the same be said of Dan Carter? Beauden Barrett was pushing Carter close for his spot, and you can't say that New Zealand dropped a level when Carter wasn't playing. In fact, there were calls for Carter to be dropped from within New Zealand's media just a month ago. I'm not suggesting that Carter wasn't exceptional. He was outstanding against France, and was the man of the match in the final.

Pocock's importance to Australia was underlined by their lacklustre performance in the World Cup quarter-final against Scotland. Without Pocock. Australia labored and almost didn't make it through to the semi-finals. Pocock's sustained excellence should have seen him claim Australia's first World Rugby Player Of The Year.

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It's not the first time that the award has gone to the wrong person.

 

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Richie McCaw went into 2009 after having a remarkable 2008 season. He had missed out on the chance to become the first player in history to claim the IRB player of the year award for a second time when Shane Williams was awarded it. It was arguably McCaw's greatest year of his career.

McCaw wouldn't have to wait long though, and he was given the award in 2009. Was he as good in 2009 and he was the year before? Absolutely not. McCaw missed the start of the year through a knee injury. When he came back New Zealand lost the Tri Nations for the first time in five years, and New Zealand lost more games that year than before McCaw's debut.

Compare him to Brian O'Driscoll's 2009. The Irish legend had a career year, inspiring Ireland to our first Grand Slam in 61 years. He lead from the front, scoring key tries. Ireland went unbeaten that season - with O'Driscoll scoring the key try to save a draw against Australia that November - and the centre went on his third Lions tour in South Africa that summer.

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Just like in 2009 with O'Driscoll, Pocock has been robbed from not being named the rightful best rugby player in the world.

See Also: The 2015 World Rugby Player Of The Year Has Been Announced

See Also: 7 New Stars Who Made The 2015 World Cup The Best One Yet

Picture credit: Ross Setford/ Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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