The nominees for the World Rugby Awards 2023 have been unveiled, with Bundee Aki, Antoine Dupont, Eben Etzebeth and Ardie Savea in the running for men’s Player of the Year.
Players and coaches from the two Rugby World Cup finalists both feature on the list, with head coaches of the All Blacks, Ian Foster, and Springboks, Jacques Nienaber, both nominated for the Coach of the Year.
The winners of the 11 categories will be announced just hours after the conclusion of the 2023 Rugby World Cup final, with the awards ceremony taking place on Sunday, October 29.
World Rugby Player of the Year Nominees
Etzebeth will be looking to win the award for the first time, having been nominated back in 2013, and the same is true for Savea, who was beaten to the award by Pieter-Steph du Toit in 2019.
For the third year in a row, France’s Dupont has been nominated, with Les Bleus’ captain winning the accolade in 2021, while he was a runner-up a year later.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Aki earns his first nomination after a stellar year in green, winning the Six Nations Grand Slam and producing outstanding performances in the World Cup.
World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year
Two All Blacks have been nominated for World Rugby Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year, with winger Mark Telea and prop Tamaiti Williams shortlisted.
Williams becomes only the third front-rower to be nominated for the award and is joined by his teammate, who scored the opening try of the Rugby World Cup.
20-year-old Frenchman Louis Bielle-Biarrey is the youngest player to be shortlisted after a stunning breakout season where he made his Test debut for Les Bleus and went on to play four of their five Rugby World Cup matches, scoring four tries.
Finally, South Africa’s Manie Libbok is the final player on the list, having made his Test debut for the Springboks last November.
World Rugby Coach of the Year
World Cup finalist coaches Foster (New Zealand) and Nienaber (South Africa) headline the shortlist for the World Rugby Coach of the Year.
Both take charge of their respective outfits for the final time this weekend, with Nienaber set to join Leinster after the tournament as incoming head coach Scott Robertson replaces Foster.
They are joined on the shortlist by Ireland’s Andy Farrell, who led his side to the top of the world rankings, a position they held for over a year before exiting the World Cup at the quarter-finals.
Head coach Simon Raiwalui has also been nominated after he stepped in as Fiji coach in February. He had an immediate impact and led the side to their first World Cup quarter-final in 16 years and their first win over Australia in 69 years.
Full list of World Rugby Awards Nominees
Women’s Sevens Player of the Year
Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
Maddison Levi (Australia)
Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand)
Reapi Ulunisau (Fiji)
Men’s Sevens Player of the Year
Leroy Carter (New Zealand)
Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina)
Marcos Moneta (Argentina)
Akuila Rokolisoa (New Zealand)
International Rugby Players Men’s Try of the Year
Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland, v England on February 4)
Damian Penaud (France, v Ireland on February 11)
Hugo Keenan (Ireland, France on February 11)
Vinaya Habosi (Fiji, v Georgia on October 1)
World Rugby Coach of the Year
Andy Farrell (Ireland)
Ian Foster (New Zealand)
Simon Raiwalui (Fiji)
Jacques Nienaber (South Africa)
Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year
Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France)
Manie Libbok (South Africa)
Mark Telea (New Zealand)
Tamaiti Williams (New Zealand)
Men’s 15s Player of the Year
Bundee Aki (Ireland)
Antoine Dupont (France)
Eben Etzebeth (South Africa)
Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
Other categories being awarded
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service
International Rugby Players Special Merit Award
Rugby for All Award
World Rugby Referee Award
World Rugby Men’s 15s Dream Team of the Year
Categories awarded following the conclusion of WXV
World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year
World Rugby Women’s 15s Dream Team of the Year
World Rugby Women’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year
International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year