Three countries are represented in the nominees for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year 2018 award.
South Africa winger Aphiwe Dyantyi one of those nominated, the winger scored on his Springbok debut against England last June and has subsequently started all nine Tests this year, scoring 6 tries including one in their win over the All Blacks in Wellington. The 24-year-old finished joint-top try-scorer in the Rugby Championship with five.
All Blacks loosehead prop Karl Tu’inukuafe has also been selected in the three-man shortlist, the 25-year-old has been somewhat plucked from obscurity, as in a little over six months he’s gone from not having a Super Rugby contract to being an All Blacks debutante in June in the first Test against France. He made four subsequent sub appearances before making his first start against Argentina and retaining his place for the final three matches of New Zealand’s Rugby Championship winning campaign.
The sole Northern Hemisphere representative is Ireland and Leinster utility back Jordan Larmour. Although predominantly playing on the wing, he’s also slotted in at full-back and centre. He made his international debut off the bench against Italy in February and made two more sub appearances in Ireland’s Grand Slam campaign. He featured off the bench in all three June Tests as Ireland secured their first series victory in Australia since 1979. He also won the PRO 14 and Champions Cup with Leinster.
To be eligible for this award, players must have played less than one year of senior international rugby, with former internationals Jamie Heaslip, Felipe Contepomi and Phaidra Knight sitting alongside members of the media on the panel that selects the shortlist.
The winner will be revealed at the World Rugby Awards, which take place at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November.
World Rugby Chair Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award recognises the most exciting talent to burst onto the international 15s or sevens stage during the year and highlights the ‘ones to watch’.
“There were several outstanding candidates and the process of whittling the selection down to a shortlist was tough for the panel. We have three outstanding candidates, who would be worthy recipients of this prestigious award.”
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