IRB names Junior Player of the Year shortlist

(IRB.COM) Saturday 19 June 2010
 IRB names Junior Player of the Year shortlist
Robbie Coleman has been a standout player for Australia - Photo: Jano Colcerniani/IRB

The International Rugby Board has announced a shortlist of four nominees for the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2010, the second IRB Award in association with Emirates Airline to be presented this year.

The IRB Junior Player of the Year will be announced following the IRB Junior World Championship Final between Australia and New Zealand on Monday, June 21 at the Estadio El Coloso del Parque in Rosario.

The two finalists and hosts Argentina are represented in the shortlist with New Zealand captain Tyler Bleyendaal joined by team-mate Julian Savea, Australia centre Robbie Coleman and Argentina fly half Ignacio Rodriguez Muedra.


The shortlist represents the voting of team head coaches, match officials and media at the tournament.

Tyler Bleyendaal (New Zealand)
The 20-year-old has led the Baby Blacks with distinction, showing great vision and maturity. It was not only his composure as captain that caught the eye, but also his decision-making under pressure which created opportunities and gave the New Zealand backline vital extra seconds. A formidable kicker, even from inside his own half, Bleyendaal has drawn comparisions to last year's IRB Junior Player of the Year, Aaron Cruden.

Robbie Coleman (Australia)
Playing in his second IRB Junior World Championship, the 19-year-old centre is one of a number of Sevens players in the Australia squad. His experience on the IRB Sevens World Series is evident in the confidence he shows as a 'second general' outside fly half Matt Toomua. A try scorer in each of the pool matches, Coleman has also created tries for his team-mates with extraordinary strength, speed and ability to change tactics.

Ignacio Rodriguez Muedra (Argentina)
The fly half's imagination and creativity have led the host nation to what will be their best ever position in the prestigious Under 20 tournament. With good positional play, Rodriguez Muedra has proved elusive thanks to his reading of the game and willingness to take risks in order to conjure something from nothing. A number 10 who would not look out of place in any of the other participating teams.

Julian Savea (New Zealand)
Described by commentators as a "smaller Jonah Lomu", the powerful and athletic wing has been almost impossible to stop when in full flight, leaving defenders in his wake and scoring some memorable tries. The 19-year-old has scored eight tries in less than two and a half matches, equalling the record of former Baby Black wing Zac Guildford for a single tournament. Having starred for New Zealand Sevens, he has shown great spatial awareness coupled with speed and strength.

** Watch Australia take on New Zealand in the IRB Junior World Championship 2010 Final live and on-demand Monday, June 21. The final kicks off at 19.10 (local time) following the third place play-off between England and South Africa. **