England star Maro Itoje nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year with Marcus Smith up for Breakthrough

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·1-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

England lock Maro Itoje has been nominated for World Rugby’s Player of the Year award.

The 27-year-old Saracens forward features on a four-man shortlist announced on Monday alongside France scrum-half Antoine Dupont, Australia captain Michael Hooper and his Wallabies colleague Samu Kerevi.

Itoje, who won his 50th England cap in Saturday’s victory over Australia at Twickenham, was nominated for the prestigious award in 2016 and 2017, when it was won on each occasion by New Zealander Beauden Barrett.

Jonny Wilkinson is the only previous English winner, taking top honours in 2003 when England were crowned world champions.

Despite their Test series victory over the British and Irish Lions this summer, when Itoje was arguably the Lions’ stand-out performer, world champions South Africa have no nominations.

And it is the first since 2004 that the All Blacks have failed to secure at least one shortlisted player, with every award between 2013 and 2017 won by a Kiwi.

World Rugby also announced the Women’s Player of the Year shortlist, which includes England forwards Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall, while England Women’s coach Simon Middleton is among coach of the year nominations.

The Breakthrough Player of the Year contenders feature England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, in addition to Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit.

The Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year categories will be decided by a fan vote.

Additional reporting by PA Media.

Read More

Eddie Jones banking on new faces in key roles as England coach faces a familiar South Africa side

England 32-15 Australia: Freddie Steward helps Eddie Jones’ side to nervy win despite dominant display

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting