Hooper and Kerevi among contenders for World Rugby player of the year award

Australian duo up against France’s scrumhalf Dupont and England lock Itoje

 Samu Kerevi, right,  of Australia in action against Wales during the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019.  Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Samu Kerevi, right, of Australia in action against Wales during the Rugby World Cup in Japan in 2019. Photograph: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

 

Australia captain Michael Hooper and team-mate Samu Kerevi led the nominations for the men’s player of the year while scrumhalf Antoine Dupont became the first Frenchman to be shortlisted for the award since 2012, World Rugby announced on Monday.

The trio will be up against England lock Maro Itoje, who won his 50th cap in the victory over Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.

Wallabies head coach Dave Rennie is in the running for coach of the year alongside compatriot Ian Foster (New Zealand men), Simon Middleton (England women), as well as Allan Bunting and Corey Sweeney (New Zealand women’s sevens).

The women’s shortlist had two players each from England and France, with Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall joined by Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus.

And the breakthrough player of the year contenders feature England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, in addition to Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit.

“The pandemic and its consequences have restricted several unions from playing international games this year and we recognise that not all rugby stars have had a chance to shine,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

“Nevertheless, the World Rugby Awards Panel has done an amazing job in selecting suitable candidates in each category.”

Fans will get the chance to pick the men’s and women’s players of the year, with voting open from November 15th to 21st. A panel vote will determine the coach of the year.

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