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Friday 23 February, 2018
Legends, Players And Fans To Select Prestigious Men’s And Women’s 15splayer Of The Year

Legends, Players And Fans To Select Prestigious Men’s And Women’s 15splayer Of The Year

  • New panel of World Rugby Hall of Famers and former award-winners to guide process
  • 2017 and 2018 World Rugby Awards to be hosted in Monaco 
  • Fans and world’s top players to be involved in the selection process 

Players, coaches, media and fans are at the heart of an exciting new process to determine the prestigious World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year and World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year awards in association with MasterCard, following a revamp of the process ahead of the 2017 awards in Monaco.

The World Rugby Awards are the ultimate accolade for excellence in rugby on and off the field from community to elite rugby and, since its launch in 2001, the world’s biggest names and most successful teams have been honoured.

World Rugby currently engages directly with more than 10 million people on social and digital media and is keen that the views of those fans, as well as players, coaches and members of the media, are taken into account. As such, once the nominees for men’s and women’s player of the year awards are selected by the awards panel, voting will be open to fans via @WorldRugby social media platforms using the #WorldRugbyAwards hashtag. Players, coaches and media will also have their say on the nominees before the panel makes the final decision.

To be eligible for the top awards, players must be competing at international level and, this year, the awards panel will have access to World Rugby’s game analysis performance data and a full bank of digital match videos. 

With the panel on a four-year rotation, presiding over the process will be a new group of playing and coaching greats, featuring World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees and former World Rugby player, coach and team of the year winners with 771 caps between them, making the panel perfectly placed to determine what it takes to be the best. 

They are: 

John Smit – former South Africa hooker and captain who led his team to victory at Rugby World Cup 2007; 111 caps; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #48, 2011.

George Gregan – former Australia scrum-half and captain who was part of the Wallabies team that won Rugby World Cup 1999; 139 caps; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #64, 2013.

Maggie Alphonsi – former England flanker and Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 winner; 74 caps; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #132, 2016; 2006 Women’s Personality Award winner.

Clive Woodward – former England centre who coached England to victory at Rugby World Cup 2003; 21 caps plus two for British and Irish Lions; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #42, 2011; 2003 Coach of the Year.

Brian O’Driscoll – former Ireland centre and captain; 133 caps plus eight for British and Irish Lions; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #121, 2016; 2008 IRPA Try of the Year award winner.

Agustín Pichot – former Argentina scrum-half and captain; 71 caps; World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee #46, 2011; 2008 IRPA Special Merit Award winner.

Richie McCaw – former New Zealand flanker and captain who led his team to victory at Rugby World Cup 2011 and 2015; 148 caps, 2006, 2009 and 2010 Player of the Year.

Fabien Galthié – former France scrum-half and captain; 64 caps; 2002 Player of the Year

The World Rugby Coach and Team of the Year will be selected by the panel with entries open to both men’s and women’s sevens and 15s. 

World Rugby Vice-Chairman and awards panellist Agustín Pichot said: “Our objective is to ensure that the awards are relevant and inclusive and that’s why players, fans and media are at the heart of this exciting, new process which will live and thrive on social media. We want fans to have their say, not just at the end of the year when the decision is made, but throughout 2017, so join the conversation and share your player, team and coach of the year suggestions using the #WorldRugbyAwards hashtag. We are also delighted to be including peer opinions via players and coaches, which will be very interesting and make the awards even more special.

“This new process will be guided by a new panel and I am excited to be deliberating with a group of talented and experienced players and coaches. All are active on social media which will make it easier to gauge the opinions of fans.

“I would like to thank the previous panel for their excellent contributions and they will always be regarded as a special group within the World Rugby Awards family.”

Panel member Maggie Alphonsi added: “I am truly honoured to be on the panel alongside these rugby legends and be given the opportunity to recognise and celebrate those individuals within the game who have excelled this season.”

Brian O’Driscoll said: “It’s great to see World Rugby acknowledging the performances of players and others within the game in this way. In 2017, we’ve already seen some amazing rugby, whether it was in the Six Nations, June internationals, Lions tour to New Zealand, the ongoing Women’s Rugby World Cup, Rugby Championship or during the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and there’s plenty more to come. So as a panel we’re not going to have any easy decisions but it’s a privilege to be asked to be a part of this group and I’m sure we’ll have some really interesting debates before the awards are announced in Monaco.”


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