Blitzboks duo up for prestigious award

Seabelo Senatla, Werner Kok and Semi Kunatani have been nominated for the World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year award.

The trio were voted by the management teams of the 15 core sides who compete at all nine rounds of the World Series.

The winner will be announced at the World Rugby Awards dinner on Sunday, 1 November at Battersea Evolution, London, following the World Cup final.

The youngest of the three nominees, Senatla ended the season as the leading try-scorer with 47 tries and has scored two of this year’s fans’ favourites, as well as scoring in each of South Africa’s Cup final victories in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.

Having made his debut in London last season, Kok has been instrumental in South Africa’s performances in all nine of the 2014-15 tournaments, most notably in their Cup win on home soil in Port Elizabeth, and as the Blitzboks became the first side to confirm qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio. Kok ended the season as the leading tackler of all players.

Kunatani has been impressive in both attack and defence for Ben Ryan’s side in all of their Cup titles this season, finishing the season as one of the leading tacklers and try-scorers (40). Having made his debut in Dubai last season, the Fijian has earned a contract with French club Toulouse for next season, but coach Ryan will have him available for four series tournaments next season, and the Olympics, should he select him.

World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year winners:

2014: Samisoni Viriviri, Fiji
2013: Tim Mikkelson, New Zealand
2012: Tomasi Cama, New Zealand
2011: Cecil Afrika, South Africa
2010: Mikaele Pesamino, Samoa
2009: Ollie Phillips, England
2008: DJ Forbes, New Zealand
2007: Afeleke Pelenise, New Zealand
2006: Uale Mai, Samoa
2005: Orene Ai'i, New Zealand
2004: Simon Amor, England

VIDEO: 2015 World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year nominees

Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

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