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‘Like to see what the criteria is’: The ‘interesting’ omission from WR’s dream team

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When World Rugby announced the four nominees for Men’s 15s Player of the Year, there was one glaring omission which shocked the world – but the biggest surprise was still yet to come.

The annual World Rugby Awards returned to a physical format last weekend in Monaco as the world’s best players, coaches and referees were celebrated after an incredible year.

Black Ferns co-captain Ruahei Demant was crowned the world’s best female 15s player just a week on from her player of the match performance in the World Cup final at Eden Park.

World No. 1 Ireland had two players nominated for the prestigious individual award in the men’s game, and flanker Josh van der Flier etched his name into rugby immortality by winning it.

There’s no denying that both players have enjoyed fantastic years, with the Irish flanker having played a key part in his sides first ever series win over the All Blacks in New Zealand.

Van der Flier was one of four Irish players named in World Rugby’s dream team – the most of any nation – including star flyhalf and fellow nominee Johnny Sexton.

While the dream team looks brilliant on paper, the absence of a couple of stars left rugby fans from around the world in shock.

All Blacks backrower Ardie Savea was nowhere to be found, even though many believed he should’ve received a nomination for the world’s Player of the Year – at the very least.

Speaking on the Aotearoa Rugby Pod, former All Blacks hooker James Parsons said it “blows me away” that Savea missed out on the sports highest individual honour.

“If you talk about impact on the game, maybe he is a close contact for me with Johnny Sexton,” Parsons said.

“He has just dominated every side of the ball, every collision.

“It blows me away that he missed out, and I think it’ll blow a lot of people (away) around the world, I don’t think it will just be a Southern Hemisphere thing.

“I think a lot of people up in the north really respect what Ardie has done.”

French Number Eight Gregory Alldritt was selected in the backrow ahead of Savea, along with Argentina’s Pablo Matera and Van der Flier.

While the All Blacks had an up and down international season, which included historic losses at home to Ireland and Los Pumas, Savea was consistently a standout player.


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