NEW ZEALAND'S Ben Smith and Kieran Read, Wales' Leigh Halfpenny and Sergio Parisse of Italy have been nominated for the players' player of the year award, the International Rugby Players' Association said yesterday.
Fullback Halfpenny was named Six Nations player of the year as Wales defended their title and won player of the series after the British and Irish Lions triumphed against Australia.
Number eight Read and utility back Smith played crucial roles as the All Blacks became the first national team in the professional era to win every match in a calendar year. That quartet, along with South Africa's Eben Etzebeth, has also been shortlisted for the International Rugby Board's world player of the year award.
HORE HANGS UP HIS BOOTS
Veteran All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore has confirmed his retirement from international rugby after more than a decade in the side.
The 35-year-old Hore had been widely expected to retire after the All Blacks' end-of-season tour in Europe, an expectation that crystallised when he was not offered a contract with any of the five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises for next season.
"I don't think I'll be playing in the All Black jersey again," said Hore, who won 83 caps since making his debut in 2002. His last test was on Sunday against Ireland where the All Blacks scored an injury-time converted try to beat the home side 24-22 and secure the first unbeaten season by a top tier international team since the game went professional in 1995.