The shortlist of four nominees has been announced for the prestigious IRB Women’s Player of the Year, all of whom will be in action in the Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 semi-finals in France later today.
Ireland full back Niamh Briggs, France number 8 Safi N’Diaye and Canadian duo, captain Kelly Russell and wing Magali Harvey, have been shortlisted for the award.
The management of the 12 teams at Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 and commentators have voted for their top three players after each round with votes tallied to provide the shortlist of nominees.
The winner will be announced on Sunday at the conclusion of Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014.
IRB Women’s Player of the Year 2014 nominees
Magali Harvey (Canada) – The wing announced herself on the World Cup stage with a bang, scoring a hat-trick in Canada’s opening victory over Spain amid a person haul of 26 points. Harvey, who turns 24 on the eve of the WRWC 2014 final, was also part of the Canadian side which reached the RWC Sevens 2013 final.
Safi N’Diaye (France) – A strong and powerful runner who continually gets over the gain-line, the Montpellier number 8 is a key figure in a fearsome French pack that has laid the platform for Les Bleues unbeaten run in 2014. The 26-year-old is a tough tackler and also knows the way to the try-line with a double against South Africa in round two.
Kelly Russell (Canada) – The number 8 is playing in her second Women’s Rugby World Cup, albeit this time with the added responsibility of captain. A strong runner and another member of Canada’s Sevens side, the 27-year-old will be hoping to replicate the try she scored against France at WRWC 2010 when the sides meet in the semi-finals later.
Niamh Briggs (Ireland) – The 29-year-old has been at the heart of everything as Ireland stunned New Zealand en route to reaching the semi-finals for the first time in WRWC history. One of the best attacking full backs in the women’s game, she has great tactical awareness and is a reliable kicker, both out of hand and from the tee.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “I would like to congratulate all four of these players who have made the shortlist. By making this exclusive list, they have already achieved something special regardless of who eventually wins the award.”
“One of the features of a record-breaking Women’s Rugby World Cup 2014 has been the noticeable step forward in terms of quality. The level of skill, athleticism, pace and power has never been so high in the women’s game as it is right now and there have never before been so many competitive teams. It really is impossible to predict with any degree of certainty who will be lifting the trophy on Sunday and all this bodes well for the future of rugby.”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank the teams for making this tournament such a spectacle and for putting in such hard work to ensure such a high standard of play.”
2012 – Michaela Staniford (England)
2011 – IRB Women’s Personality of the Year: Ruth Mitchell
2010 – IRB Women’s Personality of the Year: Carla Hohepa (New Zealand)
2009 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Debby Hodgkinson (Australia)
2008 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Carol Isherwood (England)
2007 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Sarah Corrigan (Australia)
2006 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Margaret Alphonsi (England)
2005 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Farah Palmer (New Zealand)
2004 – IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Donna Kennedy (Scotland)
2003 – IRB Women’s Personality of the Year: Kathy Flores (USA)
2002 – IRB Women’s Player of the Year: Monique Hirovanaa (New Zealand)
2001 – IRB Women’s Player of the Year: Shelley Rae (England)