Josh van der Flier and Ardie Savea backed for World Rugby Player of the Year nominations
"We're biased, of course!"
Saturday in the world of Test rugby at it was a case of déjà vu - Josh van der Flier and Ardie Savea getting man-of-the-match accolades, the Springboks throwing their weight around, Australia enduring late heart-break and Damian Penaud proving his class.
While Ireland got their Bank of Ireland Nations Series off to a winning start, the rest of the November internationals threw up some high-scoring classics. Many of the usual suspects, including van der Flier, Savea, Emiliano Boffelli and Penaud, had crucial roles to play in their teams' winning efforts.
At the end of this month, the nominations for World Rugby Player of the Year [and other awards like best team and coach] will be announced. Expect the Irish and French to feature heavily, with some other stand-outs from other rugby nations.
On House of Rugby [LISTEN from 34:10 below], Greg O'Shea, Lindsay Peat and Louis Ludik weighed in on the leading players for that Best Player award, with the South African siding with an All Blacks star.
"He is phenomenal"
Last weekend, Ardie Savea and Josh van der Flier were named respective 'men' of the match after victories over Wales and South Africa.
Both men, who looked horns during the summer, looked imperious against tough opponents and further enhanced their reputations on the world stage. Van der Flier was so accomplished against the Springboks, following on from an excellent summer series against New Zealand, that it led the House of Rugby crew discussing him as a "certainty" to get nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year.
"He's a workhorse," said Lindsay Peat. "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, and 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."
"I know you are probably a bit more... " Ludik continued, as he chose his words carefully. Peat helped him out by agreeing, "We're biased, of course!"
The House of Rugby URC panel discuss their frontrunners for World Player of the Year 👀
Together w/ @bankofireland pic.twitter.com/ZNhQNHq96T
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) November 9, 2022
Our World Rugby Player of the Year nominees
"The difference Ardie Savea makes in every single game is clear to see," Louis Ludik added, "and that leg drive.
"He is, maybe for me, favourite at the moment, but Josh van der Flier isn't far behind him."
2020 [no ceremony] and 2021 [four nominees] were both affected by Covid, but there have been six nominees for the World Rugby Player of the Year accolade in recent seasons. If that is the case for 2022, here (in order of our preference) are our six nominees:
- Gregory Alldritt (La Rochelle/France)
- Josh van der Flier (Leinster/Ireland)
- Ardie Savea (Hurricanes/New Zealand)
- Lukhanyo Am (Sharks/South Africa)
- Antoine Dupont (Toulouse/France)
- Emiliano Boffelli (Edinburgh/Argentina)