All Blacks and Black Ferns up for top awards



portiaTwo All Blacks and two Black Ferns have been shortlisted for World Rugby’s men’s and women’s player of the year.

New Zealand first five Beauden Barrett and wing Rieko Ioane have nominated in the men’s Player of the Year category.

The duo are up against England and British & Irish Lions first five Owen Farrell, Lions lock Maro Itoje and Australia fullback Israel Folou.

Barrett could become just the second player behind Richie McCaw to win the prestigious award two years in a row.

The 26-year-old had a standout performance against Samoa at the start of the season but had a mix of form during the Lions series and Rugby Championship.

Ioane meanwhile has established himself as New Zealand’s premier winger, usurping Julian Savea on the left hand flank.

The 20-year-old, who’s also up for Breakthrough Player of the Year, has been a constant try scorer and line breaker since making his debut for the All Blacks in 2016.

Meanwhile Black Ferns centre Kelly Brazier and wing Portia Woodman are frontrunners to take out the women’s title.

Both Brazier and Woodman were part of New Zealand’s triumph at the Rugby World Cup in August.

Brazier, now a two time World Cup winner, played all eight tests New Zealand played this season and is the Black Ferns’ third highest points scorer of all time.

She’ll have stiff competition from Woodman who played every minute of the Black Ferns’ World Cup campaign, scoring 13 tries in total which included her eight try haul against Hong Kong during the pool stages.

Also nominated in the women’s category are Romane Menager and Safi Menager of France and Lydia Thompson of England.

The winners will be announced later this month in Monte Carlo.

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