Rugby

A Lot Of People Are Unhappy With The World Rugby Player Of The Year Shortlist

A Lot Of People Are Unhappy With The World Rugby Player Of The Year Shortlist

Fans and pundits from around the world are up in arms over the World Rugby Player of the Year nominations that were released Monday.

The nominees are England's Maro Itoje, Australia's Michael Hooper and Samu Kerevi, and France's Antoine Dupont.

People were particularly cheesed off over the snub of South Africans Lukhanyo Am, Eben Etzebeth, and captain Siya Kolisi.

This comes after a year where South Africa completed a successful 2-1 series win over the Lions, and defeated the All Blacks in what is an early contender for game of the decade.

It is arguably even more surprising that the All Blacks also have zero nominations given that they won the Rugby Championship, and smashed the record for most test points and most tries scored in a calendar year.

Pundit Reactions Player of the Year Snubs

Writing for stuff, New Zealand journalist Paul Cully wrote that:

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“For example, ask yourself, ‘Who has the best tight five in the world?’, and then follow it up with ‘which player in that tight five has been the most consistent?’

If you follow that logic – and, sorry halfbacks and No 10s, most tests are still decided by the big men – then Springboks enforcer Eben Etzebeth is the player of the year.”

The validity of this year awards is further brought into question given that the winner will be decided by a fan vote, a point that was also raised in SA Rugby Magazine,

“The snubbing of Springbok players will no doubt lead to further questions of the integrity of the award, which this year will be decided exclusively by a fan vote, rather than a panel of experts.”

New Zealand journalist Ben Smith also gave his two cents on who should have been nominated for the award.

"England have been poor, and while Maro Itoje is a world-class player, it’s hard to fathom how this shortlist doesn’t include the likes of Jordie Barrett, Ardie Savea or Siya Kolisi."

Twitter Reaction to Player of the Year Snubs

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These awards are no stranger to controversial decisions, most memorably for Irish fans when Brian O’Driscoll was beaten to the award by Richie McCaw in 2009.

However, despite the lack of South Africans and New Zealanders, given the years that Antoine Dupont and Michael Hooper have had, they would both be worthy winners.

Dupont has been the best player in a resurgent French side who at times this year have played some of the best rugby of any international side.

He also won European Player of the Year after guiding Toulouse to the trophy while also guiding Toulouse to the Top 14 crown and being nominated for Six Nations Player of the Year.

Australia's captain Michael Hooper remains one of the most consistent players in the world, and continues his startling running run of 115 test appearances at only 30 years old.

His Australian side have also seen a resurgence this year with some impressive performances and results in the Rugby Championship that included two victories over World Champions South Africa.

See Also: All Blacks Greats Disagree On Ireland's New Zealand-Born Players 

john kirwan mils Muliaina ireland new zealand born players all blacks

Colman Stanley

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