Nov 07, 2016
Three Saracens Nominated For World Rugby Player of the Year
Three Saracens have been named in the six man shortlist for the World Rugby Player of the Year award.
Saracens players take up half of the World Rugby Player of the Year nominations as Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola are all named of the 6-man shortlist. They are joined on the list by All Blacks’ Beauden Barrett and Dane Cole, as well as Ireland Number 8 Jamie Heaslip.
Owen Farrell has excelled playing at both Inside Centre for England and Fly Half for Sarries. The year saw him finish as 6 Nations top point scorer as he led England to their first Grand Slam since 2003. This is the second time the Saracens and England playmaker has been nominated for the award, having lost out to Dan Carter in 2012.
Maro Itoje is the youngest of the six nominees. The 22 year old‘s rise to stardom has been rapid after missing out on a place in England’s 2015 World Cup squad. Having only made his England debut in February 2016 he has become un-droppable for both England and Saracens as his influence on both teams meant that he never finished on the losing team in a game he started for the entirety of the 2015/16 season. Such was the speed of his rise that he has also been nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award.
Billy Vunipola has truly emerged as one of World Rugby’s best back rowers over the last 10 months. Having been named as an England Vice Captain by Eddie Jones at the start of his tenure, he straight away justified this trust by being named man of the match three times in England’s victorious 2016 Six Nations campaign. His unbelievable strength, work rate and handling skills constantly put his team on the front foot in both the white of England and black & red of Saracens.
The nominations come after all three played crucial roles in both Saracens’ historic double campaign and England’s unbeaten year that has seen them rise to second place in the world rankings.