Saracens Academy winger Nathan Earle has been shortlisted for the 2014 IRB Junior Player of the Year Award.
The wing announced himself on the Junior World Championship stage with a bang, scoring the first hat-trick of the tournament against Italy on day one, his pace and mazy running simply too much for the Azzurrini to handle. The 19-year-old followed that up with another brace against Australia in their next match and, while he hasn’t crossed the whitewash since, his breaks have led to other tries to help England retain the hope of defending their title.
The International Rugby Board has confirmed a shortlist of four nominees for the award, with the winner set to be announced following the final at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
Finalists South Africa and England each have a player nominated in captain Handré Pollard and Earle respectively, with Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and New Zealand wing Tevita Li completing the quartet of players.
The management of the 12 teams involved in the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand voted on their top three players after each round with votes tallied to provide the shortlist of nominees.
The public now has the chance to vote on this shortlist on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/irbjuniors. The results of the public poll will be considered, along with the original votes, when finalising the winner.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “The IRB Junior World Championship is a finishing school for the future stars of world rugby and the character-building experiences learned on and off the field in New Zealand will serve the class of 2014 very well.
“Once again we have been treated to a wonderful tournament of great quality, excitement and competition and I am looking forward to seeing the young players who have proudly represented their countries step up and thrill fans watching future Rugby World Cups.
“It is always such a difficult task to select a shortlist from such talent, but the four players nominated for the prestigious IRB Junior Player of the Year thoroughly deserve their place, having been nominated by their peers and their opposition.
“We can now look forward to a mouth-watering climax to the IRB Junior World Championship and the crowning of the champions and our Player of the Year.”
2013 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Sam Davies (Wales)
2012 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Jan Serfontein (South Africa)
2011 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: George Ford (England)
2010 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
2009 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
2008 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
2007 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Tatafua Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 – IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 – IRB U21 Player of the Year: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB U21 Player of the Year: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
2001 – IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)