Conor Murray overlooked on player of the year shortlist

Beauden Barrett, Rieko Ioane, Israel Folau, Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje selected

 Conor Murray  was not included on World Rugby’s player of the year shortlist. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Conor Murray was not included on World Rugby’s player of the year shortlist. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

 

Ireland’s Conor Murray was a notable absentee when the nominees for World Rugby’s player of the year award were announced on Monday.

Five players have been named of the shortlist with Beauden Barrett, last year’s winner, joined by his New Zealand teammate Rieko Ioane and Australia’s Israel Folau. England’s Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje complete the selection.

Murray, considered by many to be the best scrumhalf in world rugby, was a key player in the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand during the summer and was also instrumental in Ireland beating the All Blacks in Chicago last November.

Keith Wood remains the only Irish winner of the award, the former Ireland captain picking up the prize when it was first handed out in 2001. Brian O’Driscoll, Johnny Sexton, Jamie Heaslip, Gordon D’Arcy and Paul O’Connell have all been shortlisted in the past.

In a new departure for the award this year, supporters, international captains, coaches and the media will be able to add their voice to the deliberations, before a panel makes the ultimate decisions, with the awards dished out at World Rugby’s annual awards dinner in Monaco on November 26th.

“There have been numerous highlights from a fascinating year of international rugby that comprised an outstanding Women’s Rugby World Cup, a compelling British and Irish Lions tour, Six Nations and The Rugby Championship competitions and a superb programme of Test rugby,” said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.

“I am sure there will be lots of debate over the coming weeks. I’d like to thank the panel for their expert consideration and look forward to the winners being announced at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco.”

England’s Lydia Thompson has been nominated for World Rugby’s women’s player of the year, with New Zealand duo Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman and France pair Romane Menager and Safi N’Diaye also on the list.

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