The Ireland centre Bundee Aki is among four nominees for World Rugby’s men’s player of the year along with the France captain Antoine Dupont and World Cup finalists Eben Etzebeth from South Africa and New Zealand’s Ardie Savea.
The winner will be named in Paris on Sunday, the day after the Springboks and All Blacks meet in the World Cup final.
Aki had a superb tournament in France despite Ireland’s quarter-final exit and led the attack stats through the pool phase, while scrum-half Dupont, who won the award in 2021, could not lead his side to victory on home soil.
Lock Etzebeth is recognised following a string of powerful displays in the second row, a feature of the Springboks’ form this year, while loose forward Savea has been outstanding for the All Blacks.
South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth attempts to charge down a clearance from France’s Antoine Dupont in the quarter-final. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images
The nominations for breakthrough player of the year include two New Zealanders in wing Mark Tele’a and prop Tamaiti Williams. South Africa fly-half, Manie Libbok, who did not make his side’s matchday 23 for the World Cup final on Saturday, and French wing Louis Bielle-Biarrey are the other nominees.
Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui is on the shortlist for coach of the year after leading his side to a World Cup quarter-final and victory over England at Twickenham. However, the winner is likely to be one of Andy Farrell (Ireland), Ian Foster (New Zealand) and Jacques Nienaber (South Africa).
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The nominees for women’s player of the year, and several other categories, will be announced after the 4 November finish of the WXV tournament that is being staged in New Zealand.