Punters worldwide hit the polls on RugbyPass’ Facebook and Instagram accounts as part of the Straight 8 Fan Vote campaign to decide the best players on the globe in each position, as voted by the fans.
In the first two instalments of the series, England star Mao Itoje defeated South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth to be crowned the world’s best lock, while World Rugby player of the year Pieter-Steph du Toit fought off All Blacks powerhouse Ardie Savea to claim the flanker title.
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By virtue of qualifying for a top two spot in their respective positions, all four players have qualified for a place in the RugbyPass Straight 8 Fan Vote World XV, where they will be joined by wing finalists Radradra and Kolbe.
After having easily fended off the challenge of Japan hero Kenki Fukuoka in the first round of the knockout bracket, Radradra was pitted against South African try-scoring machine Makazole Mapimpi in a semi-final clash.
The Sharks speedster’s impressive scoring ratio on the international scene – he’s scored 14 tries in as many tests, including one against England in last year’s World Cup final in Japan – wasn’t enough to hold out the rampant Radradra, though.
Instead, the barnstorming Bordeaux rugby league convert ran away with the tie, accumulating an impressive 72 percent of the vote count to land himself a place in the final.
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The two finalists have been decided in emphatic fashion. Semi Radradra and Cheslin Kolbe have been undoubted majority winners through the first two rounds of voting. Now they go head-to-head to decide the world’s best! Voting will open soon in out Story. ? #fijirugby #springboks #sarugby #bokrugby #flyingfijians #fijibati #rugbygram #rugby
May didn’t have such luck in the next stage of voting, though, as the Leicester Tigers wing was thumped by Toulouse’s Kolbe, who accrued 69 percent of the public’s approval.
It leaves the World Cup winner – who last year added a Top 14 title and Top 14 player of the year accolade to his 2016 Rio Olympics bronze medal and three Currie Cup triumphs with Western Province – up against Radradra in the final round.
While the new Bristol Bears recruit may not posses the number of winners’ medals that Kolbe can boast, his performances since transferring to rugby union three years ago have been nothing short of phenomenal.
Radradra’s showings at the World Cup, in particular, led to him being named the Flying Fijians player of the year after he terrorised the Australian, Uruguayan, Georgian and Welsh defences with some eye-catching displays of athleticism.
As the time of writing, Kolbe holds a slight lead over Radradra in the live polling, but with 17 hours remaining, there is still plenty of time to cast your vote.
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