The International Rugby Board has confirmed a shortlist of three nominees for the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2013 Award, with the winner set to be announced following the final at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes on Sunday.
Finalists Wales and England each have a player nominated in fly half Sam Davies and captain and number 8 Jack Clifford respectively, with New Zealand captain and flanker Ardie Savea completing the trio of players.
A panel comprising commentators, official TV production team and analysts selected their top three players from every match across the four rounds and a shortlist was then provided for the 12 coaches to vote on their top three players.
The public now has the chance to vote on this shortlist on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/irbjuniorworldrugby. The results of the public poll will be considered, along with the original votes, when finalising the winner.
VIDEO: Nominees revealed
“The IRB Junior World Championship is all about building character through a strong team ethic and achieving success through solidarity, discipline, respect, passion and integrity and the class of 2013 have once again demonstrated that the future of our sport is in very good hands,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“This event has a proven track record as a finishing school for the future stars of Rugby and more than 230 players have graduated to perform on the international stage.
“While it is difficult to predict who will follow in the footsteps of previous winners Braid, Cruden, Savea, Ford and Serfontein, and it is even more difficult to select a shortlist when there have been so many outstanding performances, the nominees thoroughly deserve their place.”
“My congratulations go to the nominees, their teams and every player who has contributed to what is once again a wonderful showcase for the future of our Game.”
Sam Davies (Wales)
The Welsh fly half showed nerves of steel to slot the conversion from near the touchline to seal a 18-17 win over South Africa and secure a first JWC final for his country. Calm and composed, the 19-year-old runs the backline and is the creative influence to unleash the flyers outside him. The Ospreys’ No.10, playing in his second Junior World Championship, kicks well off both feet and also from hand, as demonstrated with his perfectly weighted kick for Ashley Evans to score the try that set up his match-winning kick in the semi-final.
Jack Clifford (England)
The number 8 has already captained England Under 20s to the Six Nations title this year and will hope to add a first JWC title to his resume. A good leader, the Harlequins back row is a powerful runner and has made a number of breaks that have led to tries for England, including one in the semi-final against New Zealand. The 20-year-old seems destined for future honours in an England jersey.
Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
The younger brother of former winner Julian, the flanker has been the heartbeat of the New Zealand side at JWC 2013. A natural leader, he has led the Baby Blacks from the front in a team that struggled against Ireland and England in the forward exchanges. The 19-year-old Hurricanes back row also scored one of the fastest tries in JWC history after ripping the ball from a Fijian grasp on day one. He also possesses a never say die attitude and is a hot tip to follow his brother and wear the All Blacks jersey.
For more details on the IRB Awards, click here
2012 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Jan Serfontein (South Africa)
2011 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: George Ford (England)
2010 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
2009 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
2008 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
2007 – IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 – IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 – IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 – IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 – IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year: Tatafua Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 – IRB International Under 19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 – IRB International Under 21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 – IRB Under 19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 – IRB Under 21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB Under 19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB Under 21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Pat Bernard (South Africa)
2001 – IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)