Despite stellar season, All Black back-rower doesn't make men's player of the year shortlist

Bewildering Ardie Savea snub for World Rugby award

Incredibly, as World Rugby have announced their shortlist for their annual awards shindig, to be held in Monaco on 20 November, All Blacks superstar Ardie Savea has somehow not made the list, despite turning in a string of superb performances for New Zealand in the last year.

A panel of renowned former Test stars – Jacques Burger, Fiona Coghlan, Thierry Dusautoir, Richie McCaw, Drew Mitchell, Ugo Monye, Melodie Robinson, Blaine Scully, and John Smit – decided that the best male player in the last year could be found elsewhere.

And so they settled on these four: Lukhanyo Am, Antoine Dupont, Johnny Sexton, and Josh van der Flier.

What do you make of the shortlist – and the Ardie Savea snub? Surprised at Eben Etzebeth missing out or Grégory Alldritt not being the French player selected? Let us know via or on social media.

RW’s verdict on World Rugby’s men’s player of the year shortlist

Features Editor, Alan Dymock says: “Making decisions by committee is tough, sure, but it kind of beggars belief that Savea wasn’t named. In fact, if we ignore that props never, ever get any love in these lists – an ongoing, but wholly expected shocker – you could argue that the form players in the last Test year have all been in the pack.

“Savea has been outstanding. Eben Etzebeth has been the global game’s prime enforcer. Grégory Alldritt has been France’s top man. And then there’s the irresistible form of van der Flier. And why does it have to be four names when the women’s list has five?

“Now, we can also delve into the refusal to look further down the ladder for award nominations. Pablo Lemoine has qualified Chile for their first men’s Rugby World Cup ever, for example. A truly incredible achievement. But hey, a few of the elite have done well, so unlucky Pablo.

“Of course, this is assuming that all of the celebrity judging panels are looking over their own borders to see what’s been going on in the global game for the last year…”

You can see the other nominees for awards in full, below.

World Rugby Women’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year in partnership with Tudor
To be unveiled on 14 November at 9:00 GMT

  • Maud Muir (ENG)
  • Vitalina Naikore (FIJ)
  • Maiakawanakaulani Roos (NZL)
  • Ruby Tui (NZL)

World Rugby Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year in partnership with Tudor
To be unveiled on 14 November at 9:30 GMT

  • Henry Arundell (ENG)
  • Ange Capuozzo (ITA)
  • Mack Hansen (IRE)
  • Dan Sheehan (IRE)

World Rugby Coach of the Year

  • Andy Farrell, Ireland Men’s 15s  
  • Fabien Galthié, France Men’s 15s  
  • Simon Middleton England Women’s 15s  
  • Wayne Smith, New Zealand Women’s 15s  

International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year

  • Sylvia Brunt (New Zealand v Wales on 16 October) 
  • Emily Chancellor (Australia, v England on 30 October) 
  • Abby Dow (England v Canada on 5 November)
  • Linda Djougang (Ireland, v Wales on 26 March) 
  • Nomawethu Mabenge (South Africa, v Spain on 12 August) 

International Rugby Players Men’s Try of the Year

  • Rodrigo Fernandez (Chile, v USA on 9 July) 
  • Lalakai Foketi (Australia v France on 5 November)
  • Chris Harris (Scotland, v Italy on 12 March) 
  • Edoardo Padovani (Italy, v Wales on 19 March) 
  • Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales, v South Africa on 2 July) 

World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year

  • Charlotte Caslick (AUS)
  • Maddison Levi (AUS)
  • Amee-Leigh Murphy Crowe (IRE)
  • Faith Nathan (AUS)

World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year

  • Terry Kennedy (IRE)
  • Nick Malouf (AUS)
  • Kaminieli Rasaku (FIJ)
  • Corey Toole (AUS)

World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year

  • Lukhanyo Am (RSA)
  • Antoine Dupont (FRA)
  • Johnny Sexton (IRE)
  • Josh van der Flier (IRE)

World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year

  • Sophie de Goede (CAN)
  • Ruahei Demant (NZL)
  • Alex Matthews (ENG)
  • Laure Sansus (FRA)
  • Portia Woodman (NZL)

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