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Johnny Sexton one of 4 nominated for world player of the year

By PA
Jonathan Sexton of Ireland in conversation with referee Mathieu Raynal as they leave the pitch at half-time of the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship match between England and Ireland (Photo By David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images)

Ireland pair Johnny Sexton and Josh van der Flier have been nominated for the World Rugby men’s player-of-the-year award, while boss Andy Farrell has been short-listed for coach of the year.

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Fly-half Sexton, 37, won the award in 2018 and has had another outstanding year, leading Ireland to the top of the world rankings after their historic series win in New Zealand, plus victory over South Africa earlier this month.

Flanker Van der Flier, 29, has been another dynamic performer for Ireland, scoring four tries in nine Test matches.

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Springboks centre Lukhanyo Am and France captain Antoine Dupont, the current world player of the year, are on a four-man shortlist.

Farrell, who masterminded Ireland’s stunning Test series triumph against New Zealand in July, which saw his team rise to world number one, is among four contenders for the coach’s award.

He is joined by England women’s head coach Simon Middleton, New Zealand women’s supremo Wayne Smith and France boss Fabien Galthie.

The Red Roses won 30 successive Tests under Middleton’s direction, although that run ended in a World Cup final defeat against New Zealand on Saturday.

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Galthie oversaw France’s first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2010 earlier this year.

Elsewhere, Henry Arundell’s impressive arrival on the international stage with England has seen him nominated for the World Rugby men’s breakthrough player-of-the-year award.

The London Irish back scored a try just six minutes into his Test debut when England faced Australia during their summer tour.

Ireland wing Mack Hansen and hooker Dan Sheehan have also been nominated, together with exciting Italy back Ange Capuozzo.

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In the women’s breakthrough category, England prop Maud Muir is among the contenders.

Muir featured in all 13 of England’s games this year, including a late substitute appearance during the World Cup final in Auckland.

The World Rugby awards ceremony takes place in Monaco on Sunday.

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