Nigeria born England lock Maro Itoje has been nominated for world player of the year.
The 27-year-old Saracens forward features on a four-strong shortlist announced by World Rugby alongside France scrum-half Antoine Dupont, Australia captain Michael Hooper and his Wallabies colleague Samu Kerevi.
Itoje, who won his 50th England cap in Saturday’s victory over Australia at Twickenham, was nominated for the prestigious award in 2016 and 2017, when it was won on each occasion by New Zealander Beauden Barrett.
Jonny Wilkinson is the only previous English winner, taking top honours in 2003 when England were crowned world champions.
Despite their Test series victory over the British and Irish Lions this summer, when Itoje was arguably the Lions’ stand-out performer, world champions South Africa have no nominations.
And it is the first time since 2004 that the All Blacks have failed to secure at least one shortlisted player.
World Rugby also announced the women’s player of the year shortlist, which includes England forwards Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall, while England Women’s coach Simon Middleton is among coach of the year nominations.
And the breakthrough player of the year contenders feature England and Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith, in addition to Wales wing Louis Rees-Zammit.
The men’s and women’s player of the year categories will be decided by a fan vote.
Maro Itoje born in Camden, North London to Nigerian parents represented England at U18 and captained the England U20 team in the 2013–14 season. He scored a try in every 2014 Six Nations Under 20s Championship game and was England’s Man of the Tournament.
Itoje has been described by many as a hard-working player and also as a team leader, with many writers claiming him to be a “star player” Perhaps all this will sum up to see him emerging World Rugby player of the year.Maro Itoje won his 50th England cap in Saturday’s victory over Australia
Born Oghenemaro Miles Itoje, the impressive player is simply called Maro Itoje.