The shortlist was selected by a panel comprising former international players Maggie Alphonsi, Brian O’Driscoll and Agustín Pichot, alongside former coaches Nick Mallett and Clive Woodward, the World Rugby coach of the year in 2003.
The winner will be announced at the World Rugby awards in Tokyo next Sunday.
World Rugby team of the year shortlist
A first World Cup final for 12 years has been secured the hard way after overcoming Australia and New Zealand in impressive fashion in consecutive matches, only the second team to beat both in the same tournament.
England were runners-up in the Six Nations with Wales the only nation to beat them – twice – in 14 Test matches this year, a run of results that has helped take them back to the top of the World Rugby rankings for the first time since June 2004.
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The Brave Blossoms captured the hearts and imagination of a nation with their up-tempo style of play and incredible heart helping them reach the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time at Japan 2019.
Victories over Ireland and Scotland saw them briefly rise to a new high of sixth in the World Rugby rankings in a year that also saw them win the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup title and lose only twice – to South Africa – in nine Test games.
A ten-time recipient of this award, New Zealand extended their record-breaking winning run to 18 matches on the World Cup stage with impressive victories over South Africa and Ireland before England ended their hopes of a third successive title.
The All Blacks have won seven of their 10 Tests in 2019, relinquishing the Rugby Championship title and their No1 ranking but retaining the Bledisloe Cup for a 17th successive year.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 31, 2019
The Rugby Championship winners are bidding to create World Cup history by becoming the first team to lift the Webb Ellis Cup after losing a match at the finals – their Pool B opener against New Zealand.
That loss, 23-13, is their only one of the year, having won nine and drawn the other of their 11 Tests. The Springboks have risen to No2 in the World Rugby rankings for the first time in more than four years after reaching a first RWC final since 2007.
Warren Gatland’s final year in charge of Wales has been one to remember with the Six Nations Grand Slam secured, a first World Cup victory over Australia since 1987 and a rise to No1 in the World Rugby rankings for the first time in history.
A first RWC final may have eluded Wales, but they can still match their best-ever finish of third and end the year with 12 victories in 16 Tests.
“I just can’t wait for Friday. That is Owen’s meeting."
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 30, 2019
Previous World Rugby team of the year award winners:
2018 – Ireland
2017 – New Zealand Women’s 15s
2016 – New Zealand
2015 – New Zealand
2014 – New Zealand
2013 – New Zealand
2012 – New Zealand
2011 – New Zealand
2010 – New Zealand
2009 – South Africa
2008 – New Zealand
2007 – South Africa
2006 – New Zealand
2005 – New Zealand
2004 – South Africa
2003 – England
2002 – France
2001 – Australia
WATCH: Cheslin Kolbe on the state of his ankle injury and the probable high ball tactics in Saturday’s World Cup final
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