Fans can have their say on who wins six of the prestigious World Rugby Awards 2021 categories, and since the nominations were released on Monday, some of those selected have shared their pride at being recognised.
Via the Awards’ voting website fans can select the winners of the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year in sevens and 15s, as well as the International Rugby Players Men’s and Women’s Try of the Year.
French superstar and Olympic silver medallist Anne-Cécile Ciofani urged her followers on Twitter to use their votes, having been nominated for World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.
Ciofani’s countrywoman, Caroline Boujard has been nominated for the women’s 15s Award alongside Les Bleues team-mate Laure Sansus, something she has taken great pride in.
“Honoured to be cited for the title of best player of the year with Laure Sansus,” Boujard, who scored six tries in as many tests in 2021, wrote on Twitter.
Boujard and Sansus face competition from England pair Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall, who helped the Red Roses win the Women’s Six Nations 2021 and compile a 17-match unbeaten run.
Cleall, who won her 50th cap against Canada on Sunday, conveyed her shock on Twitter as she simply wrote: “Surely not” followed by a string of emojis.
World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year is a contest between Antoine Dupont, Michael Hooper, Maro Itoje and Samu Kerevi.
France captain Dupont is due to face New Zealand this weekend, and All Blacks skipper Sam Cane has backed the scrum-half’s place on the shortlist, saying: “We can all agree he thoroughly deserves his nomination for World Player of the Year”.
“From what I've seen a lot of their game revolves around Dupont," Cane said.
"His speed of delivery is first-class, but he's a constant threat with the ball and, because he's a constant threat, he creates space for others around him because you have got to put so much attention on him defensively.
"They've got a lot of dynamic ball carriers in their forward pack with good footwork that can get over the gain line and offload, but always with the French, they have some attacking guys out wide too.
"They're playing an exciting brand of footy, that's for sure.”
Four stars of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics have been shortlisted for the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Award with gold medallists Napolioni Bolaca and Jiuta Wainiqolo nominated alongside Scott Curry and Marcos Moneta.
Bolaca less than 10 World Series Tournaments. Jiuta no World Series Tournaments & might never play one and went directly to the Olympics. To be listed as a nominee speaks massive of their work ethic, resilience & talent, their faith, family, mates that got them there. Awesome🙌🇫🇯 https://t.co/pKBBFrksVE— Naca Cawanibuka (@cawnac_naca) November 15, 2021
Bolaca and Wainiqolo arrived in Tokyo with limited experience on the biggest stage, and Fiji’s head of strength and conditioning Naca Cawanibuka highlighted the size of their achievement.
“Bolaca less than 10 World Series tournaments. Jiuta no World Series tournaments and might never play one and went directly to the Olympics,” Cawanibuka wrote on Twitter.
“To be listed as a nominee speaks massive of their work ethic, resilience and talent, their faith, family, mates that got them there. Awesome.”
Voting opened at 10:00 GMT on Monday, 15 November and will close at 23:59 GMT on Sunday, 21 November.
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. The pandemic has continued to impact the international stage with a number of teams having only returned to test rugby in the last couple of months.
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).
The other categories to be awarded next month are the World Rugby Referee Award, the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service and the World Rugby Men’s and Women's 15s Dream Teams of the Year in association with Capgemini.