New Zealand are about to be knocked off another of their perches on Sunday night, for the second time in eight days.
If their monopoly of the World Player of the Year award does not end in the swanky setting of the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo, there will have to be a stewards’ inquiry.
Having picked up the Rugby Writer’s Ireland Player of the Year award last night, no hurdle has been too intimidating for Johnny Sexton this year, starting with the long-distance drop goal to drag Ireland to the winning post in Paris and finishing with a unanimous points decision over the current world No. 1, Beauden Barrett.
Had the organisers extended the equine metaphor and picked their nominees from the Champion Hurdle winners at Cheltenham, they could have chosen Hurricane Fly, Istabraq, Desert Orchid and Rooster Booster instead of Barrett, Faf de Klerk, Reiko Ioane and Malcolm Marx.
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