Monday 19 February 2018

It will be an injustice if Read isn't named World Player of Year

Class act: Kieran Read
Class act: Kieran Read
Tony Ward

Tony Ward

It's nearly time for the IRB World Player of the Year candidates to be announced.

Now, while of course it's a subjective judgment, the collective record of the august committee responsible for the nominations has been iffy to say the least.

Naturally, I have little knowledge of their assessment to date but my guess is that it will be a New Zealand-dominated list.

I expect to see Ben Smith, Conrad Smith, possibly Israel Dagg and definitely Kieran Read on the list, and they should be supplemented by former Munster centre Jean de Villiers (a revelation as player and skipper of the Springboks), Wallaby flanker Michael Hooper, with Leigh Halfpenny as Six Nations and Lions Player of the Year the lone candidate from the northern hemisphere.

And the winner? Read by a mile.

If there is any justice whatsoever to this, the most prestigious individual award of the lot, then the Canterbury and All Black No 8 should skate home.

Surely this time round the selection committee – comprising such international greats as Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Francois Pienaar, Tana Umaga, Scott Quinnell, Augustin Pichot, as well as our own Paul Wallace – cannot deny the extraordinary Read this long overdue global recognition that he most certainly deserves.

Irish Independent

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