Trio up for Players' Player of the Year Award

 Nov 28,2013
Written by: Editor

Kieran Read, Ben Smith and Leigh Halfpenny have been shortlisted for the inaugural rugby Players' Player of the Year Award.

International Rugby Players Association (IRPA) released their list of finalists on Wednesday.

Wales full-back 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 over 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. Smith has also been shortlisted for the IRPA Newcomer of the Year Award, alongside barnstorming countryman Charles Piutau, and Australian flyer Israel Folau.

The trio, along with South Africa's Eben Etzebeth and Italy's Sergio Parisse, have also been shortlisted for the International Rugby Board's world Player of the Year award.

The winners of both awards are due to be announced next week.

Halfpenny said it was a huge honour to be included on a shortlist chosen by his peers and fellow professionals.

"I'm thrilled, to be honest," he said.

"There are awards and there are awards, but to be recognised by the pe ople you play against week - in, week - out - well, that's about as good as it gets."

Smith was delighted to be a finalist in two categories.

"I've really enjoyed the year and this just tops it all off, really," he said. "The awards are a fantastic initiative and to be named as a finalist in two categories feels pretty special."

The winner of the IRPA Player of the Year and Newcomer of the year Awards will be announced next week, along with winners of the Players' World XV of the Year and Team of the Year categories.

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