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England great tips Owen Farrell over Beauden Barrett for Player of the Year

By Jack Davies
Saracens and England fly-half Owen Farrell

Former England international Jason Robinson has backed Owen Farrell to be crowned World Rugby Player of the Year after being included among the nominees.

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Saracens fly-half Farrell is up against Beauden Barrett, Israel Folau, Rieko Ioane and clubmate Maro Itoje for the prestigious honour, at the end of a year in which he has won the Six Nations with England and played a key role in the British and Irish Lions tour to New Zealand.

But Robinson – nominated himself in 2002 – believes Farrell is the standout contender.

“There’s some great nominations there but I’d like to see Owen Farrell,” Robinson, speaking on behalf of Land Rover at the annual HITZ Awards, told Omnisport.

“I just think he’s been a key player for English Rugby, a great performer whether it’s been in an England, Saracens or a Lions shirt.

“He’s a young man that’s taking on so much responsibility yet delivered, so for me my man would be Owen Farrell.”

However, Robinson recognises Farrell will face stiff competition for the prize.

“Beauden Barrett is a world-class player,” he added. “When you look at trying to fill Dan Carter’s shoes, there’s not many players that are close to it.

“But he’s just taken the reins and he’s been one of the key reasons why New Zealand have kept the form and keep on winning, so he’s definitely a contender.

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“Maro Itoje has been phenomenal, a young player that’s come through the ranks and done really well.

“He’s sailed through it and made it look so easy, even though he’s worked so hard, and for a young man to hold his own, to keep taking those steps, to keep delivering, to still have that hunger that he has, he’s going to be phenomenal player.

“He’s already a great player now, but if you look in four or five years’ time he’s going to be phenomenal.

“Israel Folau is a nightmare for any opposition to play against, he’s a big player, he’s got great hands, goes up for the ball really well, he’s got lots of pace and can certainly score lots of tries.

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“He’s certainly been one of the key players for Australia, another fantastic player.”

***Jason Robinson is a Land Rover ambassador. Land Rover is a key partner of HITZ, the sport for change programme. @LandRoverRugby #WeDealInReal***

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