Harinordoquy sole European award nominee

FRANCE number eight Imanol Harinordoquy is the only player from the northern hemisphere to make the six-man shortlist for the International Rugby Board’s Player of the Year award.

The Biarritz back-rower helped inspire Les Blues to a first Six Nations Grand Slam since 2004, scoring a try in the win over Italy, and he is joined on the list — selected by an independent panel chaired by former Australia captain John Eales — by five players from the Tri-Nations sides.

New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, the current holder, is joined by team-mate Mils Muliaina just days after the pair overtook Sean Fitzpatrick’s record of 92 caps for their country in the win over Ireland.

The young Wallaby duo of full-back Kurtley Beale and flanker David Pocock also make the list, as does South Africa second-row stalwart and record cap holder Victor Matfield. The winner will be announced Wednesday.

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