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JOHANNESBURG — Even if Malcolm Marx doesn’t win the coveted 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year Award, the fact that he has been nominated is remarkable enough. He was injured for South Africa’s three Tests against England and has only played six Tests (so far) in 2018. But his athleticism and brute strength have made him one of the most impressive international players this season. Faf de Klerk is a worthy nominee, coming back from international isolation in 2017, when Ross Cronje, Francois Hougaard and Rudy Paige were the preferred scrumhalves. But a solid season with Sale Sharks has turned the diminutive scrumhalf into a world-class player and he made a dramatic impact against England and in the Rugby Championship. – David O’Sullivan
From SA Rugby
Two Springboks, Malcolm Marx and Faf de Klerk, are amongst a group of five players nominated for the prestigious 2018 World Rugby Player of the Year Award.
Marx (hooker) and De Klerk (scrumhalf) join their Springbok colleague Aphiwe Dyantyi as South African nominees for the various 2018 World Rugby accolades, after the Bok speedster was shortlisted as one of three candidates for the Breakthrough of the Year prize.
World Rugby confirmed the shortlists for the Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year awards for 2018, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November. Following a stellar year for international rugby, the shortlists for the ultimate accolade feature players who have excited and inspired fans around the world with their feats in 2018.
The Springbok duo will be up against All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane, as well as Ireland’s Johnny Sexton for 2018 World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Award, in association with Mastercard.
Marx, a dynamic ball-carrying hooker, has played the fewest tests of the nominees with only six, having missed the June internationals through injury.
With five starts and a try in the win over New Zealand in Wellington, the 24-year-old Marx has picked up where he left off in 2017, combining athleticism, power, pace and a wide skill-set in attack with the breakdown skills to turnover many a ball for South Africa.
De Klerk returned to the Springbok jersey after missing the 2017 test season and quickly made himself indispensable to SA Rugby’s Director of Rugby, Rassie Erasmus, showing why rugby is a sport for all with his ferocious defence and fearless play despite his small stature.
The 27-year-old played virtually every minute of South Africa’s Castle Lager Rugby Championship campaign, scoring tries against Argentina and Australia and proving a constant thorn in the side of his opposite numbers across his nine starts.
The nominees for World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in association with Mastercard are: Pauline Bourdon (France), Fiao’o Faamausili (New Zealand), Gaëlle Hermet (France), Safi N’Diaye (France) and Jessy Trémoulière (France).
Both shortlists were selected by the star-studded World Rugby Awards panel which comprises Rugby World Cup winners Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi and former England coach Clive Woodward alongside Brian O’Driscoll, Fabien Galthié and Agustín Pichot.
Fans and media have been able to have their say on the players who have stood out for them in 2018 and now international captains and coaches will join the panel for one final vote to determine the winners of the prestigious awards.
These awards are two of 13 categories of awards, including the World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby Coach of the Year, World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year in association with HSBC and World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in association with Tudor.
For more information on the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards.
Previous World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year Award winners:
2017 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2016 – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2015 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2014 – Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
2013 – Kieran Read (New Zealand)
2012 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2011 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
2010 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2009 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2008 – Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
2006 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2005 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2004 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
2003 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
2002 – Fabien Galthié (France)
2001 – Keith Wood (Ireland)