Cape Town - The first nominees have been revealed for the World Rugby Awards 2017, which take place at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on November 26.
The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year 2017 is the first of the shortlists to be announced with the rest being released in stages over the coming weeks.
The three nominees for this prestigious award are Argentina wing Emiliano Boffelli, New Zealand wing Rieko Ioane and France centre Damian Penaud.
This award was won last year by England second-rower Maro Itoje and in 2015 by New Zealand’s Nehe Milner-Skudder.
In order to be eligible for this award, players must have played less than one year of senior international rugby, with former internationals Felipe Contepomi and Melodie Robinson among the panellists selecting the shortlist.
"The World Rugby Awards celebrate excellence in rugby, honouring the world's greatest players, coaches and teams as well as those who have given so much to the sport. The past year has produced some amazing performances by all the best men's and women's teams, in both 15s and sevens, so I expect voting for the 2017 awards will be very close and hard-fought," World Rugby chairperson Bill Beaumont was quoted as saying on the World Rugby website.
"The breakthrough player category is always interesting because it gives us a sneak preview of what young talent is out there and who the game’s future big names are likely to be. It’s a great achievement even to receive a nomination for a short-list so each of these three exciting young players should feel proud for getting to this stage of the process."