The selection of nominees for the 2021 World Rugby Awards was made after the Rugby Championship.
World Rugby on Monday announced the list of nominees for six of the categories, which were decided by a panel of former players and coaches.
The World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Players of the Year in sevens and 15s, as well as the International Rugby Players Men’s and Women’s Try of the Year will be decided by fan votes.
The Springboks and All Blacks were both overlooked for the Men’s 15s Player of the Year award, the first time this has happened since the inaugural year in 2001.
Instead, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper and centre Samu Kerevi – the latter having played five Tests this year – France scrumhalf Antoine Dupont and England lock Maro Itoje have been nominated.
Bok head coach Jacques Nienaber, who this year coached the team to a British & Irish Lions series victory, as well as away wins over the All Blacks, Wales and Scotland, was also snubbed for the Coach of the Year award.
All Blacks coach Ian Foster, Australia’s Dave Rennie, England Women’s coach Simon Middleton and New Zealand Women’s Sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney have been nominated.
The Springboks, who will finish the year at the top of the World Rugby rankings, have also not been nominated in the Team of the Year category.
“The chosen ones were already selected after the Rugby Championship,” a reliable source told Rapport newspaper.
“This means that the Boks’ victories over Wales and Scotland, for example, were not taken into account. Neither were the All Blacks’ defeats against Ireland [and France]. None of the players’ performances in November were taken into account.”
World Rugby’s shortlisted candidates, especially the absence of Bok players and Nienaber, provoked worldwide criticism on social media, mainstream media and news websites this week.
This can largely be attributed to World Rugby’s poor timing and poor flow of communication which includes the absence of a set criteria for these nominations.
“When the nominations were decided, the Boks could barely breathe again after three defeats and the win against the All Blacks.
“That’s why Jacques’ name is not there and why players like Eben Etzebeth and Siya Kolisi also missed out.
“I also do not think World Rugby wanted the quality of rugby played during the series between the Boks and the British & Irish Lions to be remembered as the benchmark for 2021.
“However, it is surprising that no player from the Boks, such as Siya or Eben, or from the All Blacks, the two leading teams on the planet, has been nominated.”