Folau in running for top award
RUGBY UNION: Israel Folau’s 12-try spree in 2017 has earned him a shot at breaking the All Blacks’ stranglehold on World Rugby’s coveted Player of the Year award.
World Rugby’s annual awards dinner in Monaco on November 26 may just be the ideal start of a European vacation for Folau, and his fiancee Maria Tutaia, after the fullback elected to recharge by missing the Wallabies’ current tour.
It is Folau’s (pictured) first nomination for the prestigious gong, which has gone to a player from the world champion All Blacks for seven of the past eight years.
Folau’s resonant form stacks up against the other contenders yet the judging panel invariably gives the award to a player involved in winning big trophies, which is the missing link.
Bledisloe Cup-winning All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane have been nominated along with England’s Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje.
New Zealand’s Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman, England’s Lydia Thompson and French pair Romane Menager and Safi N’Diaye have been nominated for the Women’s Player of the Year honour.