Johnny Sexton could become only the second ever Irishman to win the World Rugby Player of the Year award after being included among the five nominees this afternoon.
Keith Wood is the only Irish player to win the prize, with the legendary hooker picking up the honour in its first year in 2001. Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll, Gordon D’Arcy, Paul O’Connell and Jamie Heaslip have all been nominated since but rugby’s top individual prize has eluded them all.
Sexton has been nominated for the 2018 award alongside All Blacks duo Beauden Barrett (out-half) and Rieko Ioane (wing) and South African pair Malcolm Marx (hooker) and Faf de Klerk (scrum-half).
Allthough Barrett has won the last two awards, many are tipping Sexton to claim the honour this year. The 33-year-old won a Six Nations Grand Slam, a Champions Cup and PRO 14 double with Leinster and was a key part of Ireland’s test series win in Australia over the summer.
Sexton was previously nominated in 2014, with All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick going on to win the award.
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