World Rugby Award nominations announced

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Charlotte Caslick is in contention to be crowned World Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year, after the shortlist was announced on Tuesday.

Caslick, 21, was a standout for the Aussie women in their run to an Olympic gold medal and was recently crowned the country's best women's sevens player.

The halfback has been nominated for the global gong before, beaten out by Kiwi Portia Woodman in last year's announcement, but the Australian would seem the favourite this time around.

Woodman has been named on the shortlist as well, after topping the series try-scoring tally, with England captain Emily Scarratt rounding out the shortlist.

New Zealand's Steve Hansen and England's Eddie Jones were among the nominees for coach of the year, named on Tuesday.

The pair will be vying for the coach of the year award along with Ben Ryan, the Englishman who guided Fiji to their first Olympic gold medal in any sport when the Pacific Islanders triumphed as rugby sevens made its Games debut in Rio.

New Zealand, since winning the World Cup under Hansen last year, have remained unbeaten and recently set a new record for a major or tier-one rugby union nation of 18 successive Test victories.

But England, who were the first host nation to suffer a first-round exit as they crashed out early from their own World Cup, have won all nine of their Tests since Australian coach Jones took over after the global showpiece, a run that includes a Six Nations Grand Slam and a 3-0 series win in Australia.

New Zealand, England and Fiji Sevens are the three sides nominated for the team of the year award.

Meanwhile the All Blacks duo of Anton Lienert-Brown and Ardie Savea will compete with 21-year-old England lock Maro Itoje for the breakthrough player of the year award.

The shortlist for the world player of the year title is due to be announced on November 7, with all the awards to be presented at London's Hilton Metropole hotel on November 13.