Dublin - New
Zealand captain Richie McCaw is in contention to win the IRB Player of
the Year award for a fourth time after being included in a four-man
shortlist for the 2012 prize.
Black flyhalf Dan Carter also made the cut on Wednesday with two
surprising entries - back-up England No 10 Owen Farrell and another
flyhalf, the rejuvenated Frederic Michalak of France.
is the only player to have received the accolade more than once in its
11-year history, having won in 2006, 2009 and 2010. Carter won it in 2005.
is the most capped All Black in history with 115 Tests and 19 tries and
this year he became the first player to win 100 Tests and most as
He will take a six month sabbatical from the game in 2013.
All Black team-mate Carter injured a groin in 2011 that ruled him
out of most of New Zealand's triumphant Rugby World Cup campaign, but he has
bounced back in style to become the leading point-scorer in Test rugby
IRB chairperson Bernard Lapasset said that it had been a difficult choice to select only four candidates.
ever, the competition has been fierce and the panel had a tough time
deliberating the shortlist from a number of stand-out candidates,"
Lapasse said. "All four players on the shortlist thoroughly deserve
their place after standout performances during the year and consistency
in the tough environment that is Test rugby."
The winner will be announced on December 3, along with IRB Coach of the Year and IRB Team of the Year.
the third year in a row the shortlist includes a player to have
graduated from the IRB Junior World Championship to the Test arena with
Farrell following in the footsteps of Australian trio David Pocock, Will
Genia and Kurtley Beale.
made his England debut as flyhalf in the opening Six Nations match
against Scotland at Murrayfield and played in the Test series loss in
He turned 21 in
September and is vying for the No 10 shirt with Toby Flood. Farrell is
the son of former England dual code international Andy Farrell, who is
now an assistant coach of the national team.
was recalled to the France national team after an absence of more than
two years by coach Philippe Saint-Andre for the June tour to Argentina.
has been the architect of Les Bleus' run of four consecutive victories
over Argentina (twice), Australia and Samoa which have secured them a
top-four seeding spot in the IRB world rankings for the 2015 World Cup.
That means they will avoid the top three southern hemisphere teams in
the pool stage.
flyhalf has returned from another spell in Super Rugby with the Sharks
to reignite an international career that looked to have stalled with
just four appearances since the 2007 World Cup.
IRB Player of the Year nominees were selected by the IRB Awards
independent panel of judges, which is chaired by former Australia
captain John Eales - who won the 1991 and 1999 World Cups - and is made
up of former internationals with more than 500 caps between them.
panel comprises Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphael Ibanez,
Francois Pienaar, Agustin Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul
France flank Thierry Dusautoir captured the 2011 award.
Previous IRB Player of the Year winners:
2011 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
HAVE YOUR SAY: Are these really the four best players from the past year? If so, who deserves the IRB Player of the Year title most: Carter, McCaw, Michalak or Farrell? Send your thoughts to Sport24.
2010 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2009 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2008 – Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
2006 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2005 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2004 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
2003 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
2002 – Fabien Galthie (France)
2001 – Keith Wood (Ireland)