Savea on five-man shortlist for IRB Player of the Year award

Also on the International Rugby Board’s shortlist are Savea’s All Black team mate Brodie Retallick, South Africa’s Willie Le Roux and Duane Vermeulen and Ireland’s Jonathan Sexton.


The hulking 24-year-old Savea scored 10 tries in 2014, including a hat trick in the third test against England in June, to take his tally to 29 tries in 31 test matches.

Last month All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said Savea is “probably better” than All Black great Jonah Lomu — who was arguably rugby’s first globally recognised player.

International Rugby Board chairman Bernard Lapasset told the body’s official website: “The IRB World Rugby Player of the Year is one of the most prestigious accolades in rugby and previous winners have all made a significant contribution to the international game over the past decade, inspiring new generations of players and fans.

“All of these nominees have enjoyed stellar years and the focus on who will claim this accolade will add an extra dimension to the remaining November tests.”

The winner of the award, which will be announced after his nation’s final match of 2014, is selected by an independent IRB awards panel chaired by Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales.

The panel is comprised of former internationals Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphael Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustin Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.

Fans have been invited to cast their vote on social media with their results set to be considered by the panel.

Players from New Zealand have won four of the last five awards with captain Richie McCaw winning in 2009 and 2010, Dan Carter in 2012, Kieran Read in 2013 while France’s Thierry Dusautoir won the award in 2011.

(Reporting By Tom Hayward; editing by Toby Davis)