Ireland captain Rory Best and fellow internationals Robbie Henshaw, Jack McGrath, and CJ Stander have been nominated by their fellow professionals for this year’s Zurich Irish Rugby Players’ Awards.
The shortlist for the Irish Rugby Union Players’ Association’s most prestigious annual award, won last year by Paul O’Connell, has for the first time seen a player from each province nominated, the selections reflecting consistent form across the Pro12, Champions Cup, Challenge Cup, World Cup, and Six Nations.
The winner will be announced at IRUPA’s annual awards dinner, on May 4 in Dublin as the highlight of an evening which will also see eight other awards presented.
Garry Ringrose, Josh van der Flier, and Stuart McCloskey are shortlisted to succeed three-time winner Henshaw for the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year, while the BNY Mellon Women’s XVs Player Of The Year will go to one of Sene Naoupu, Paula Fitzpatrick, and Ciara Griffin.
ZURICH IRUPA PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), CJ Stander (Munster), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster).
NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Josh Van Der Flier (Leinster), Stuart McCloskey (Connacht), Garry Ringrose (Leinster).
VOLKSWAGEN TRY OF YEAR:
Craig Gilroy, Ulster v Scarlets, Guinness Pro12; Jamie Heaslip, Ireland v Italy, RBS Six Nations; Matt Healy, Connacht v Grenoble, Challenge Cup.
IRISH TIMES SUPPORTERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Robbie Henshaw (Connacht), Jack McGrath (Leinster), Rory Best (Ulster), Conor Murray (Munster), Jonathon Sexton (Leinster), CJ Stander (Munster), Jared Payne (Ulster), Matt Healy (Connacht).
BNY MELLON WOMEN’S XVs PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Sene Naoupu (Galwegians), Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s), Ciara Griffin (Tralee).
VODAFONE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE:
Isaac Boss (Leinster), Ronan Loughney (Connacht), John Muldoon (Connacht).
IRUPA WOMEN’S SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR:
Amee Leigh Murphy Crowe, Ashleigh Baxter, Audrey Flynn.
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