Planet Rugby

Nominees for top junior award named

17th June 2014 10:54

Share:

Handre Pollard SA U20 JWC 2014

Handré Pollard: Maturity beyond his years

The International Rugby Board has confirmed a shortlist of four nominees for the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2014 Award, with the winner set to be announced following the final at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.

Finalists South Africa and England each have a player nominated in captain Handré Pollard and wing Nathan Earle respectively, with Ireland centre Garry Ringrose and New Zealand wing Tevita Li completing the quartet of players.

The management of the 12 teams involved in the IRB Junior World Championship 2014 in New Zealand voted on their top three players after each round with votes tallied to provide the shortlist of nominees.

The public now has the chance to vote on this shortlist on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/irbjuniors. The results of the public poll will be considered, along with the original votes, when finalising the winner.

Nathan Earle (England)

The wing announced himself on the Junior World Championship stage with a bang, scoring the first hat-trick of the tournament against Italy on day one, his pace and mazy running simply too much for the Azzurrini to handle. The 19-year-old followed that up with another brace against Australia in their next match and, while he hasn't crossed the whitewash since, his breaks have led to other tries to help England retain the hope of defending their title.

Garry Ringrose (Ireland)

With Irish rugby fans asking the question who will fill the 13 jersey now that Brian O'Driscoll has retired, the answer could lie in 19-year-old Ringrose who has carried well and repeatedly got over the gain-line to help Ireland reach a first JWC semi-final. A lovely straight runner, Ringrose has scored three tries in the tournament, two in the decisive bonus point win over Wales and one in the semi-final loss to England. He is also an accomplished kicker as he proved with 11 points in the final pool victory over Fiji.

Handré Pollard (South Africa)

A player who already has a Junior World Championship winners' medal to his name from South Africa's success on home soil in 2012, Pollard now holds the responsibility of captaincy in what is his third experience of the tournament. With a maturity beyond his years, the Blue Bulls fly-half is a calming influence on his team-mates but also a natural leader. In the semi-final he became both the leading point scorer at JWC 2014 and also in the competition's history. Pollard's performances in the tournament have led some to suggest him as a possible bolter for South Africa's squad for RWC 2015.

Tevita Li (New Zealand)

The New Zealand wing only linked up with the Under 20 squad on the eve of the tournament due to his Super Rugby commitments with the Blues, but that experience has shone through in his performances. A wing blessed with pace and power, Li was one bright spark for New Zealand in their pool loss to South Africa with a hat-trick. The 19-year-old, who has scored five tries in the tournament, will hope to follow in the footsteps of former U20 wings Julian Savea and Charles Piutau by graduating to the All Blacks in the years ahead.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB Junior World Championship is a finishing school for the future stars of world rugby and the character-building experiences learned on and off the field in New Zealand will serve the class of 2014 very well.

"Once again we have been treated to a wonderful tournament of great quality, excitement and competition and I am looking forward to seeing the young players who have proudly represented their countries step up and thrill fans watching future Rugby World Cups.

"It is always such a difficult task to select a shortlist from such talent, but the four players nominated for the prestigious IRB Junior Player of the Year thoroughly deserve their place, having been nominated by their peers and their opposition.

"We can now look forward to a mouth-watering climax to the IRB Junior World Championship and the crowning of the champions and our Player of the Year."

Previous winners:

2013 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Sam Davies (Wales)
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 U19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Tatafua Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 - IRB U21 Player of the Year: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB U21 Player of the Year: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
2001 - IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)

With thanks to the IRB

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 26
London Welsh vs Gloucester19:45
Saturday , September 27
Saracens vs Sale15:00
Leicester vs London Irish15:00
Northampton vs Bath15:15
Sunday , September 28
Exeter vs Harlequins14:00
Wasps vs Newcastle14:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
Rugby Championship
Saturday , September 27
South Africa vs Australia16:05
Argentina vs New Zealand23:10
More Rugby Championship fixtures
Guinness PRO12
Friday , September 26
Edinburgh vs Scarlets19:35
Leinster vs Cardiff Blues19:35
Glasgow vs Connacht19:35
Saturday , September 27
Zebre vs Ulster15:00
Munster vs Ospreys18:30
Sunday , September 28
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Benetton Treviso16:00
More Guinness PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Saturday , September 27
Toulon vs Montpellier18:00
Stade Francais vs La Rochelle18:00
Bayonne vs Toulouse18:00
Brive vs Bordeaux-Begles18:00
Oyonnax vs Clermont Auvergne18:00
Lyon vs Castres18:00
Grenoble vs Racing Metro Paris18:00
More Top 14 fixtures
Currie Cup
Friday , September 26
Cheetahs vs Blue Bulls19:10
Pumas vs Western Province19:00
Saturday , September 27
Sharks vs Eastern Province Kings14:00
Griquas vs Lions15:00
More Currie Cup fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , September 21
Newcastle 10 - 35 NorthamptonNewcastle vs Northampton Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Ospreys 62 - 13 EdinburghOspreys vs Edinburgh Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
ITM Cup
Otago 38 - 7 WaikatoOtago vs Waikato Report
Wellington 20 - 42 TasmanWellington vs Tasman Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , September 20
Sale 46 - 8 London WelshSale vs London Welsh Report
Harlequins 26 - 23 WaspsHarlequins vs Wasps Report
London Irish 32 - 36 SaracensLondon Irish vs Saracens Report
Bath 45 - 0 LeicesterBath vs Leicester Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Newport Gwent D'gons 13 - 33 GlasgowNewport Gwent D
Scarlets 43 - 0 Benetton TrevisoScarlets vs Benetton Treviso Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Top 14
Racing Metro Paris 27 - 16 ToulouseRacing Metro Paris vs Toulouse Report
Grenoble 24 - 15 Bayonne
Montpellier 23 - 3 Stade FrancaisMontpellier vs Stade Francais Report
La Rochelle 26 - 29 Bordeaux-Begles
Clermont Auvergne 43 - 12 LyonClermont Auvergne vs Lyon Report
Castres 27 - 18 Oyonnax
More Top 14 results
Currie Cup
Western Province 36 - 12 GriquasWestern Province vs Griquas Report
Blue Bulls 15 - 26 SharksBlue Bulls vs Sharks Report
Eastern Province Kings 22 - 37 CheetahsEastern Province Kings vs Cheetahs Report
More Currie Cup results
ITM Cup
Hawkes Bay 36 - 17 Bay Of Plenty
Manawatu 36 - 17 Southland
Auckland 32 - 7 North HarbourAuckland vs North Harbour Report
More ITM Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , September 19
Gloucester 22 - 25 ExeterGloucester vs Exeter Report
More Aviva Premiership results
Guinness PRO12
Munster 31 - 5 ZebreMunster vs Zebre Report
Cardiff Blues 9 - 26 UlsterCardiff Blues vs Ulster Report
More Guinness PRO12 results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Bath314
2Saracens313
3Northampton311
4Exeter310
5Leicester Tigers39