The International Rugby Board is to introduce an exciting new format for the IRB Awards in Association with Emirates Airline.
Starting this year, the winner of each of the 13 coveted categories of awards will be named at different stages throughout the year, culminating in the announcement of the prestigious IRB Player, Coach and Team of the Year in November.
For each category of award, the IRB will issue a preview release, detailing the venue for the announcement of each award and a short list of players and teams where applicable. Each award will be presented to the winner using an existing event or match - after which the IRB will make available photographs, audio and video news release as appropriate.
The new format replaces the traditional annual IRB Awards in association with Emirates airline for the next two years, with the old format set to return after Rugby World Cup 2011 in New Zealand.
“The annual IRB Awards in Association with Emirates Airline has been a highlight of the international rugby calendar since its inception in 2001.
“However, in light of the current economic climate, hosting a glittering event such as this is not prudent and therefore the IRB has decided that the awards in its traditional format should be put on hold for two years,” said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“We believe that this exciting new format will build anticipation throughout the year, generating added exposure for the suite of 13 awards and allowing other events, tournaments and matches to benefit from the association with a prestigious product.
“I am sure that the staggered roll-out of recipients throughout the year will add to the excitement and profile around the world.
“We have the full backing of our generous sponsors Emirates airline and are looking forward to kicking off the revised format this weekend.”
The first award will be the prestigious IRB Sevens Player of the Year. This season’s IRB Sevens World Series, which culminates in Scotland this weekend, has been the most competitive to date, with South Africa, England, Argentina and Fiji all winning tournaments, while the emergence of Kenya as a serious challenger was also underlined at a thrilling Rugby World Cup Sevens 2009 tournament in Dubai.
The short list of nominees for the award will be announced on Friday, with the presentation taking place at Murrayfield after the final of the Emirates Airline Edinburgh Sevens.
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