It has been quite some year in Rugby and tonight the sport will gather to celebrate some of an outstanding roll call of highlights at the 2018 Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award.
In contention for the much sought-after Zurich Players’ Player of the Year Award are four 2018 NatWest Six Nations Champions, Grand-Slam winners, Champions Cup Semi-Finalists, and two Champions Cup winners, who have all excelled for their provinces and country this year.
Keith Earls, Ireland’s 4th all-time record try scorer, has enjoyed a series of outstanding performances for both Munster and Ireland. Tadhg Furlong is nominated for the second year running after shining for the British & Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand and spearheading Ireland’s front row during the NatWest Six Nations. Conor Murray, the current holder of the prestigious award, has had a scintillating year for the British & Irish Lions, Munster and Ireland, with the scrum-half adding goal kicking and line-outs to his talents. Johnny Sexton’s year will be forever remembered for that last-minute drop goal against France in Paris, reinforcing his reputation as Ireland’s talisman.
Commenting on the announcement marking Zurich’s third year sponsoring the Zurich Rugby Players Ireland Awards Anthony Brennan, CEO, Zurich Ireland said:
“This year’s Zurich Irish Rugby Players Awards provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate what has been a superb year for Irish rugby from winning the Grand Slam and the Champions Cup to hosting the Women’s Rugby World Cup,” said Zurich Ireland CEO Anthony Brennan.
“We in Zurich are hugely proud to support rugby in Ireland through a number of initiatives including the Tackle Your Feelings campaign. For us, these awards are about recognising individuals that have demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the sport on the field and throughout their wider communities, underpinned by our sponsorship of the Zurich Contribution to Irish Society Award which we will present on the night.”
Three of Ireland’s talented youngsters who are all NatWest Six Nations and Grand Slam winners will contest the Nevin Spence Young Player of the Year Award: Jordan Larmour (Leinster), James Ryan (Leinster) and Jacob Stockdale (Ulster), whilst three iconic try efforts will contest the Volkswagen Try of the Year Award.
Following Ireland’s hosting of the 2017 Woman’s Rugby World Cup and Ireland’s Semi-Final finish, several players have come into contention for the BNY Mellon Women’s XV Player of the Year 2018 as voted by the players involved over the last 12 months: Katie Fitzhenry, Ciara Griffin and Claire Molloy. The Woman’s 7s Player of the Year will also be awarded on the night, and the nominees are Ashleigh Baxter, Stacey Flood and Lucy Mulhall.
The Vodafone Medal for Excellence will be awarded to the individual who has shown exceptional commitment to the game of rugby both on and off the field. Nominated this year by their peers are Duncan Casey (Grenoble), Jake Heenan (Connacht) and Rhys Ruddock (Leinster).
The public have been involved through nominations and voting for the Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort Moment of the Year 2018 and the Mason Alexander Supporters Player of the Year 2018.
There will be a special celebration as well as Brian O’Driscoll is inducted into the BNY mellon Rugby Players Ireland Hall of Fame.
Sport for Business will be there tonight as a guest of our partners Bank of Ireland and we look forward to bringing you some of the highlights on social media @SportforBusines on Twitter and @SportforBusiness2020 on Instagram
ZURICH PLAYERS’ PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018
Keith Earls Munster
Tadgh Furlong Leinster
Conor Murray Munster
Jonathan Sexton Leinster
NEVIN SPENCE YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018
Jordan Larmour Leinster
James Ryan Leinster
Jacob Stockdale Ulster
VOLKSWAGEN TRY OF YEAR 2018
Andrew Conway Munster v Toulon Champions Cup
Jacob Stockdale Ireland v Wales NatWest Six Nations
CJ Stander England v Ireland NatWest Six Nations
THE MASON ALEXANDER SUPPORTERS PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018
Voted by the public
BNY MELLON WOMEN’S XVs PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018
DRUIDS GLEN HOTEL & GOLF RESORT MOMENT OF THE YEAR 2018
Voted by the public on Twitter @Druidsglen #RugbyAwards18
VODAFONE MEDAL FOR EXCELLENCE 2018
Duncan Casey Grenoble
Jack Heenan Connacht
Rhys Ruddock Leinster
SEVENS PLAYER OF THE YEAR 2018
Image Credit: Inpho Photography