IRB announce player of the year nominations
October 6, 2004

Less than a year after sweeping the board at the 2003 IRB awards in Sydney, England have failed to make any significant impact in the 2004 nominations

Ireland centre Gordon D'Arcy is the only player from any of the home nations to be nominated for the IRB's player of the year award.

The 24-year-old from Leinster proved an instrumental figure as Ireland landed their first Triple Crown since 1985 and was voted the outstanding player of the RBS 6 Nations.

D'Arcy is joined in the prestigious five-man list, announced by the IRB today, by South Africans Schalk Burger and Marius Joubert, Australian centre Matt Giteau and French blindside flanker Serge Betsen.

Jake White, who led South Africa to the Tri-Nations title in his first season in charge, and French coach Bernard Laporte of Six Nations Grand Slam winners France are both short-listed for coach of the year.

They are joined by New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens and Tomaz Morais who guided Portugal to victory in the European Nations Cup on a shoestring budget.

South Africa, France and Portugal have all be nominated for the team of the year prize. The winners of the 2004 awards will announced at a gala dinner on November 28 at London's Royal Lancaster Hotel.

IRB player of the year: Serge Betsen (France); Schalk Burger (South Africa); Gordon D'Arcy (Ireland); Matt Giteau (Australia); Marius Joubert (South Africa).

IRB team of the year, in association with Sodexho: France; Portugal; South Africa IRB Coach of the Year: Bernard Laporte (France); Tomas Morais (Portugal); Gordon Tietjens (New Zealand Sevens); Jake White (South Africa)

IRB under-19 player of the year: Fabien Cibray (France); Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand); Mikaele Tuu'u (NZ)

IRB under-21 player of the year, in association with Waterford: Jamie Heaslip (Ireland); Jerome Kaino (New Zealand); Luke McAlister (New Zealand)

IRB sevens team of the year winner: New Zealand

IRB sevens player of the year: Simon Amor (England); Ben Gollings (England); Lucio Lopez Fleming (Argentina)

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