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14th Nov 2022

Two scandalous omissions as Sexton and van der Flier nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year

Patrick McCarry

Johnny Sexton

A huge honour for the Ireland stars, but some odd omissions here.

Johnny Sexton and Josh van der Flier are among a four-man shortlist for World Rugby Player of the Year.

The Leinster and Ireland stars are part of a four-man shortlist for an award that will be handed out, in person, at an awards ceremony in Monaco at the end of the month.

Shockingly, La Rochelle and France forward Gregory Alldritt and Hurricanes and All Blacks talisman Ardie Savea have both missed out on the final selection. Savea was the frontrunner, in the eyes of many, many rugby fans, while Alldritt was a pivotal figure as La Rochelle won their first ever European Cup and Les Bleus claimed a Grand Slam in the Six Nations.

Sexton and van der Flier have enjoyed great years, from a personal and team(s) perspective, despite their Champions Cup final heartache, in France. The four-man shortlist is thus:

  • Lukhanyo Am (South Africa)
  • Antoine Dupont (France)
  • Johnny Sexton (Ireland)
  • Josh van der Flier (Ireland)

Josh van der Flier, right, and Jonathan Sexton of Leinster celebrate a turnover during the Heineken Champions Cup Quarter-Final match against Leicester Tigers. (Photo by Harry Murphy/Sportsfile)

‘Josh is a workhorse’

On a recent House of Rugby show, Lindsay Peat, Greg O’Shea and Louis Ludik gave their take on who should be in the running for World Rugby Player of the Year.

“He’s a workhorse,” said Lindsay Peat, of Josh van der Flier. “16 tackles, got a try and was pivotal in a lot of the good things that Ireland did well, as he’s been showing all this year… 100%. It’s about consistency.”

Former Sharks and Ulster star Louis Ludik was in studio to provide some South African perspective. He stated:

“There’s a couple of guys and Josh [in the running], definitely.

“I definitely think Ardie Savea, too. He’s one guy that might be a little bit in front of Josh. Now, Josh has been awesome. Don’t get me wrong – he’s been phenomenal – but Ardie Savea just brings something different to the game.”

Johnny Sexton, while praised for having another impressive year, was not mentioned when it came to making a shortlist for best player of 2022, however. Should the Leinster outhalf win the accolade, it will be his second time, after he got the nod in 2018.


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