Dupont leads Player of the Year shortlist

Rugby

France captain Antoine Dupont is among four nominees for the World Rugby men’s player of the year along with Ireland centre Bundee Aki, South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth and New Zealand’s Ardie Sevea, officials announced on Thursday.

The winner will be named in Paris on Sunday, the day after the Springboks and All Blacks meet in the World Cup final.

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Dupont, who won the award in 2021, starred at the Six Nations in March this year but at the World Cup was unable to lead his side to victory on home soil.

Aki had a superb tournament in France despite Ireland’s customary quarterfinal exit and led the attack stats through the pool phase.

Lock Etzebeth will be a strong candidate with his powerful displays in the second-row a feature of the Springboks’ form this year.

No.8 Sevea has been outstanding as well this year and is an integral member of the All Blacks.

The nominations for breakthrough player of the year include two New Zealanders in winger Mark Tele’a and tight-head-prop Tamaiti Williams.

South Africa fly-half Manie Libbok, who did not make his side’s match-day 23 for the World Cup final on Saturday, and French winger Louis Bielle-Biarrey are the other nominees.

Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui is in the running for coach of the year after leading his side to a World Cup quarterfinal and prior to that, a victory over England at Twickenham.

But it is likely the winner come from one of Andy Farrell (Ireland), Ian Foster (New Zealand) or Jacques Nienaber (South Africa).

The nominees for women’s player of the year, and several other categories, will be announced after the Nov. 4 finish of the WXV tournament that is being staged in New Zealand.

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