Rugby Union

Johnny Sexton and Beauden Barrett on World Rugby Player of the Year shortlist

Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton is one of five nominees for World Rugby Men’s 15 Player of the Year.

Sexton is the only player from the northern hemisphere to feature on the list, which also sees New Zealand fly-half Beauden Barrett in with a chance to win the award for a third successive season.

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Barrett’s All Blacks team-mate Rieko Ioane is also nominated, while the other two possible winners are from South Africa – Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx.

Leinster’s Sexton was one of the stars of Ireland’s run to a Six Nations Grand Slam, scoring 44 points, including the vital drop goal that secured victory over France.

Sexton also helped Ireland claim a first series win over Australia in 39 years, enabling them to climb to second in the world rankings.

Keith Wood was the last Ireland player to win the award, back in 2001, and New Zealand have taken the last six, including two apiece for Barrett and Dan Carter.

Barrett has enjoyed another sensational year, scoring seven tries in eight games while performing as consistently as ever with the boot – he had a 30-point haul in one Bledisloe Cup game against Australia.

De Klerk and Marx impressed in helping Rassie Erasmus’ side climb back towards the top of the rankings, while Ioane continues his swift progress in the game at the age of 21.

France dominate the list of nominations for the Women’s 15 Player of the Year prize, with team-mates Pauline Bourdon, Gaelle Hermet, Safi N’Diaye and Jessy Tremouliere in competition after their Six Nations Grand Slam.

New Zealand’s Fiao’o Fa’amausili is the only non-France player on the list of nominations.

The winners will be announced at the World Rugby Awards on November 25.

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