All Blacks dominate IRPA awards nominations
November 14, 2006

New Zealand has dominated the finalists for the IRPA International Rugby Player of the Year, with four out of five finalists wearing the black jersey.

Daniel Carter, last year's IRPA International Rugby Player of the Year, is again in the running for the award following another outstanding season.

Team-mates Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins, and Carl Hayman are also finalists, reflecting last season's dominance of the All Black forward pack.

The other finalist is Ireland lock Paul O'Connell who has had an exceptional season in helping Ireland to a second triple crown in three years.

An exciting season of international rugby has seen France triumph in the Six Nations and New Zealand win an extended tri-nations competition whilst retaining the Bledisloe Cup.

Fittingly, these two teams have been nominated for the IRPA International Team of the Year 2006.

Also from the emerald isle, emerging centre Andrew Trimble is the only back amongst the finalists for the IRPA International Newcomer of the Year.

He is joined by compatriot Jerry Flannery, Rocky Elsom (Australia), Jason Eaton (New Zealand) and Pierre Spies (South Africa) in a group earmarked for future stardom.

Former England international and Chairman of IRPA, Damian Hopley said "These awards are the pinnacle of international peer recognition and our best wishes go to all the players and teams nominated. The proliferation of New Zealand players across the nominations for the IRPA Awards is just reward following another outstanding season for the All Blacks."

Players from the world's professional rugby Player Associations have cast their votes for the sixth International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) Awards.

International players from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, England, South Africa, Australia, France and New Zealand have voted for the players they believe stand out amongst their peers. IRPA Awards rules state that players can only vote for players (and teams) outside their own international team, meaning these awards reflect the players' true status among their competitors.

Full details of the winners of all the awards will be announced on November 21 2006.

Nominations are as follows:

IRPA International Rugby Player of the Year 2006

* Daniel Carter, New Zealand
* Jerry Collins, New Zealand
* Carl Hayman, New Zealand
* Richie McCaw New Zealand
* Paul O'Connell, Ireland

IRPA International Newcomer of the Year 2006

* Jason Eaton, New Zealand
* Rocky Elsom, Australia
* Jerry Flannery, Ireland
* Pierre Spies, South Africa
* Andrew Trimble, Ireland

IRPA International Team of the Year 2006

* France
* New Zealand

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