Rugby Australia wishes to congratulate its nominees for the 2021 World Rugby Awards, after they were announced by World Rugby.
Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and strike centre Samu Kerevi have each been nominated for the prestigious World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Award.
An Australian has never won the Men’s 15s Player of the Year Award despite 13 nominations over its 21-year history.
A veteran of 117 Tests, Hooper has enjoyed a memorable year in the gold jersey with several player-of-the-match performances, as well as becoming Australia’s most-capped captain.
Samu Kerevi’s return to the Wallabies midfield sparked a red-hot run of form for Australia earlier this year as the side went on to win five straight matches, in what was their best run outside of a Rugby World Cup year since 2008.
The World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Award is to be decided by a fan vote for this first time in its history, with fans able to select their winners on the Awards’ voting website and join the conversation using #WorldRugbyAwards.
Voting will be open from 10:00 GMT on Monday, 15 November until 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 21 November.
To maintain the integrity of the outcome, a World Rugby Awards panel will have the opportunity to review the public voting to ensure the recipients are fitting winners in their respective category.
Andrew Kellaway has also been rewarded for his scintillating arrival to the world stage, having been nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year. The 26-year-old has scored eight tries in his 11 Tests so far this year, after making his debut against France in July.
Finally, Dave Rennie has been nominated for the World Rugby Coach of the Year after steering the Wallabies to a Series win against France before claiming the Nelson Mandela Plate in back-to-back wins against the world champion Springboks.
The World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and World Rugby Coach of the Year will be voted by the World Rugby Awards panel.
Rugby Australia CEO Andy Marinos said: “This is a huge achievement, and great recognition for Michael, Samu, Andrew and Dave after what has been an encouraging Wallabies season.
“It’s great personal reward for each of them as we continue to build into 2022 and the Rugby World Cup in France which is now just around the corner.
“I encourage every fan to make sure they get online and vote for Michael and Samu to ensure an Australian takes home the World Rugby Player of the Year crown,” Marinos said.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Awards are the ultimate accolade for rugby, and we are delighted to honour the outstanding players and individuals who have made an impact on our game on and off the field in 2021.
“The pandemic and its consequences have restricted several unions from playing international games this year and we recognise that not all rugby stars have had a chance to shine. Nevertheless, the World Rugby Awards Panel has done an amazing job in selecting suitable candidates in each category and I would like to congratulate all nominees who, deservingly, have been shortlisted for this year’s awards.”
After a special edition in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the prestigious World Rugby Awards return in 2021 to celebrate on-field achievements of the calendar year and recognise the teams and individuals who have inspired players and fans around the world.
Placed at the end of the November international window, the biggest accolades in rugby union will be virtually handed to their recipients from 6-10 December. The 12 categories will be unveiled on World Rugby social media channels including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (@WorldRugby).