• Vermeulen, Le Roux up for IRB award

    Springboks Duane Vermeulen and Willie le Roux have been shortlisted for the IRB Player of the Year award.

    The two South Africans are among five nominees for the prestigious award, where they are joined by All Blacks Julian Savea and Brodie Retallick, as well as Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton.

    Vermeulen must be considered one of the front-runners for the award following a stunning season with the Boks, where he has become an irreplaceable member of Heyneke Meyer's team. His work rate at the breakdown, power in the tackle and destructive ball-carrying ability have become crucial to the Bok cause and when Vermeulen plays well – which he invariably does – so do the Boks. His performance against the All Blacks at Ellis Park – where he played with damaged ribs for the full 80 minutes – is one of the finest by a Bok against the old enemy in recent memory.

    Le Roux has started all 10 Tests for the Boks this year, where he has continued to build on his reputation as a game-breaker, scoring tries in all three Tests during the June internationals.

    They will be looking to become only the third South African to take home the award following Schalk Burger in 2004 and Bryan Habana in 2007. The nominees were decided by a panel comprising of former internationals from across the globe and headed by Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales.

    'All of these nominees have enjoyed stellar years and the focus on who will claim this accolade will add an extra dimension to the remaining November Tests,' said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.

    Fans will now have the chance to vote on the nominees via social media, with the results of the public vote coming under consideration from the panel before they finalise the winner.

    VIDEO: IRB Player of the Year nominees in action

    VOTE for YOUR winners in SA Rugby magazine's 2014 Fans' Awards!

    Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images