The International Rugby Board yesterday named Sexton as the only Northern Hemisphere player on a five-man shortlist to succeed last year’s winner Kieran Read.
While Sexton, pictured, will be hoping to emulate the 2001 feat of Wood’s, New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick and Julian Savea can make it a third All Blacks win in a row following their nominations. Also in the mix to be named at their nation’s final match of 2014 are South Africa’s Willie le Roux and Duane Vermeulen.
Cited as “the stand-out player for Ireland in 2014 as they claimed the Six Nations title, a first series win in Argentina in June and the scalp of South Africa in Dublin last weekend,” Sexton was praised for “his control of the game at fly-half and perfect record from the kicking tee (that) earned the 49-Test veteran the man of the match award against the Springboks.”
The nominees were selected by the independent IRB Awards panel. Rugby supporters now have a chance to influence their final decision via a public vote on social media, the results of which will be considered by the panel in their deliberations, according to the IRB.