The importance of the top three IRB Awards; IRB Player, Team and Coach of the Year can be measured by the men who are tasked with judging them. A panel of distinguished past players with over 500 international caps between them review and vote on every international match from January to the final test match of the year.

The IRB Player of the Year is determined using the following criteria:

The IRB Awards panel votes on all international Test matches throughout the year using a points system i.e 3 points for best player of the match, 2 points for second best player of the match and 1 point for third best player of the match. 

These votes, and a discussion amongst the IRB Awards panel to consider aspects such as form, appearances and opposition, form the basis in determining a shortlist of nominees which is announced prior to the end of the Autumn Internationals in November.

Once the nominees are announced the public is invited to give their opinion on social media as to who they believe should win the IRB Player of the Year Award. Select international media are also invited to vote.

Taking into account votes, and input from media and fans, the final winner of the prestigious IRB Player of the Year Award is determined by the IRB Awards panel at the end of the November test window.

John Eales (AUS, 1991-2001) - Convenor
POSITION - Lock
BORN – 27/06/1970. Brisbane
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT - 22/9/1991 v Wales (Brisbane) won 63-6
FINAL APPEARANCE - 1/9/2001 v New Zealand (Sydney) won 29-26
TOTAL CAPS - 86

Will Greenwood (ENG, 1997-2004)
POSITION - Centre
BORN 20/03/1969. Cahors
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT - 15/11/1997 v Australia, drew 15-15
FINAL APPEARANCE - 27/11/2004 v Australia, lost 19-21
TOTAL CAPS - 55 (+2 Lions in 2005)

Gavin Hastings (SCO, 1986-1995)
POSITION - Full Back
BORN - 03/01/1962. Edinburgh
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT - 18/1/1986 v France (Murrayfield) won 18-17
FINAL APPEARANCE - 11/6/95 v New Zealand (Pretoria) lost 48-30 (RWC)
TOTAL CAPS - 61

Francois Pienaar (RSA, 1993-1996)
POSITION - Flanker
BORN - 02/01/1967. Vereeniging
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT - 26/6/1993 v France (Durban) drew 20-20
FINAL APPEARANCE - 10/8/1996 v New Zealand (Cape Town) lost 29-18
TOTAL CAPS - 29

Paul Wallace (IRE, 1995-2002)
POSITION - Prop
BORN – 30/12/1971, Cork
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT – 31/05/1995 v Japan (Bloemfontein) won 50-28
FINAL APPEARANCE – 28/09/2002 v Georgia (Dublin) won 63-14
TOTAL CAPS – 45 (+3 Lions in 1997)

Scott Quinnell (WAL, 1993-2002)

POSITION – Back row
BORN – 20/08/1972, Swansea
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT – 10/11/1993 v Canada (Cardiff) lost 24-26
FINAL APPEARANCE – 16/11/2002 v Canada (Cardiff) won 32-21
TOTAL CAPS – 52 (+3 Lions in 1997)

Agustin Pichot (ARG, 1995-2007)
POSITION – Scrum half
BORN – 22/08/1974, Buenos Aires
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT – 30/04/1995 v Australia (Brisbane) lost 7-53
FINAL APPEARANCE – 19/10/2007 v France (Paris) won 34-10
TOTAL CAPS – 71

Tana Umaga (NZL, 1997-2005)
POSITION - Centre
BORN – 27/05/1973, Lower Hutt
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT – 14/06/1997 v Fiji (Albany) won 71-5
FINAL APPEARANCE – 26/11/2005 v Scotland (Edinburgh) won 29-10
TOTAL CAPS – 74

Raphel Ibanez (FRA, 1996-2007)
POSITION - Hooker
BORN – 17/02/1973, Dax
INTERNATIONAL DEBUT – 16/03/1996 v Wales (Cardiff) lost 15-16
FINAL APPEARANCE – 19/10/2007 v Argentina (Paris) lost 10-34
TOTAL CAPS – 98