Ruddock backs 'quality operator' Sexton to claim World Player of the Year award
Rhys Ruddock has backed Johnny Sexton to win World Rugby's Player of the Year award after his Leinster and Ireland team-mate was nominated on the five-man shortlist.
The out-half, who brilliantly led Ireland to Grand Slam glory, is nominated alongside All Blacks pair Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane as well as the Springboks scrum-half Faf de Klerk and hooker Malcolm Marx.
Ruddock, who is Sexton's vice-captain at Leinster, admitted that he was "not surprised" that he had been recognised for the prestigious gong.
"For many years now he's stood out as one of the top performers in the world," Ruddock said.
"I'm probably a bit biased, having him on my team because I see all the other attributes he brings, to the environment, the leadership and just a good bloke as well. So, well deserved. He's a quality operator in all aspects."
Despite several nominations, Keith Wood is the only Irish player to have won the award, back in 2001.