The nominees for the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament have been released by World Rugby.
The players are from five different nations. The two finalists, England and Ireland, each have a player on the shortlist. Ireland number 8 Max Deegan is shortlisted, as is England’s fly half Harry Mallinder, who will skipper his side in the final.
Mallinder’s side beat South Africa in their semi final, and the South African’s star man was full back Curwin Bosch who also makes the list. One South Africa’s toughest individual opponents also makes the list, Japan’s Ataata Moeakiola. Thing winger, capable of playing just about anywhere in the backline, scored a hat-trick in the opening round against South Africa and has shone in a variety of positions since, he is certainly a star in the making.
Reigning Champions New Zealand have had a poor tournament by their own lofty standards, however they came storming back into form on Monday, scoring over 70 points against Wales to set up a fifth place play off against Australia. One player who has stood out throughout though has been full back/wing, Shuan Stevenson, who rightly makes the shortlist.
Stevenson could become the fourth New Zealander to win the award after Luke Braid in 2008, Aaron Cruden in 2009, and Julian Savea in 2010.
The presence of the likes of Cruden and Savea on the list, not to mention England’s George Ford, demonstrates the quality of players to have won the award and what a good gauge it can be for future standards.
Handre Pollard is perhaps one of the most spectacular recipients of the award, winning it in 2014 before being capped by the senior Springboks side just a week later.
Last year’s winner was England number 8 James Cisholm, who ahs since gone on to impress for Harlequins and was a part of the successful England Saxons squad this month. Mallinder will be hoping to make it back to back English winners, but you suspect he would be more than happy to cede that title to Deegan if it meant earning the big prize on Saturday night, the World Rugby U20 Championship.
In the meantime though, the destination of the World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament award is in your hands, just follow this link to the World Rugby Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/worldrugby) where you can vote for the winner!
To help you decide, here’s a video of a few of the highlights from the five nominees (via World Rugby):
World Rugby U20 Championship Player of the Tournament Shortlist:
Curwin Bosch – South Africa
Max Deegan – Ireland
Harry Mallinder – England
Ataata Moeakiola – Japan
Shaun Stevenson – New Zealand
2015 – James Chisholm, England
2014 – Handre Pollard, South Africa
2013 – Sam Davies, Wales
2012 – Jan Serfontein, South Africa
2011 – George Ford, England
2010 – Juilan Savea, New Zealand
2009 – Aaron Cruden, New Zealand
2008 – Luke Braid, New Zealand
World Rugby U20 Championship Finals Day Fixtures:
Saturday 25th June
Final – Ireland v England – 19.00, AJ Bell Stadium
3rd Place Play-Off – Argentina v South Africa – 16.45, AJ Bell Stadium
5th Place Play-Off – New Zealand v Australia – 14.30, AJ Bell Stadium
7th Place Play-Off – Wales v Scotland– 16.30, Manchester City Academy Stadium
9th Place Play-Off – Georgia v France– 14.15, Manchester City Academy Stadium
11th Place Play-Off – Italy v Japan – 12.00, Manchester City Academy Stadium
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool A Final Standings|
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool B Final Standings|
|World Rugby U20 Championship – Pool C Final Standings|