Cape Town – Despite outstanding individual performances in a team that has shined in 2021, not a single Springbok player has made the World Rugby Player of the Year nominees’ list announced on Monday.
The Boks, currently top of the world rankings, beat the British & Irish Lions 2-1 in the Series in July. They also pulled off a stunning victory over the All Blacks in the their 101st Test against their rivals, while they have also won their first two Autumn internationals against Wales – a historic one which marked their first win in Cardiff since 2013 – and Scotland.
New Zealand, who lost to Ireland at the weekend, are also absent from the list.
This is the first time since the awards were introduced in 2001 that no South African or New Zealand player has made the list.
France playmaker Antoine Dupont, England’s Mark Itoje, and Wallabies Michael Hooper and Samu Kerevi have made the list – despite the centre having played only five Tests this season.
In other categories, Dave Rennie will be up against Ian Foster, Simon Middleton (England Women), Allan Bunting and Corey Sweeney (both with New Zealand Women’s Sevens) for the Coach of the Year award.
In the Breakthrough Player of the Year category, Andrew Kellaway (Australia), Will Jordan (New Zealand), Louis Rees-Zammit (Wales) and Marcus Smith (England) are in the running.
The Springboks’ snub becomes even more puzzling when you considering the form of the likes of captain Siya Kolisi, Eben Etzebeth, Steven Kitshoff, Damian de Allende, and Lukhanyo Am.
Kolisi, especially, has been breathtaking for the world champions this year, having not only led the team to a stunning Series victory over the Lions, but also in terms of his individual contributions.
He was a standout yet again in the Boks’ 30-15 win over Scotland at the weekend, while Etzebeth was named Player of the Match after a monster of a performance.
The winner of the award will be announced on December 10.