World Rugby has announced the shortlists for the prestigious Women’s 15s Player of the Year awards for 2018, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 25 November.
Following a stellar year for international rugby, the shortlists for the ultimate accolade feature players who have excited and inspired fans around the world with their feats in 2018.
The nominees for World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year in association with Mastercard are: Pauline Bourdon (France), Fiao’o Faamausili (New Zealand), Gaëlle Hermet (France), Safi N’Diaye (France) and Jessy Trémoulière (France).
WORLD RUGBY WOMEN’S 15S PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES
PAULINE BOURDON (FRANCE)
A player in the modern mould of French half-backs, given she is equally happy at nine or 10 as she showed during Les Bleues’ Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam campaign, starting off at fly-half before shifting to scrum-half and scoring two tries across the last three matches. Bourdon, who turns 23 on Sunday, has quick feet and an impressive step to create space for her or her team-mates but is equally strong in defence despite her small stature.
FIAO’O FAAMAUSILI (NEW ZEALAND)
The oldest of the nominees at 38, the Black Ferns hooker had retired from international rugby after leading New Zealand to a fifth – her fourth – Women’s Rugby World Cup title in 2017, but she reversed that decision to pass on the experience of her record 52 caps to a refreshed squad and as captain led the world champions to back-to-back victories over Australia in August. A consistent lineout thrower and strong runner with the ball, Faamausili knows her way to the try-line as her hat-trick in the first win over Australia showed.
GAËLLE HERMET (FRANCE)
Taking over the captaincy from the legendary Gaëlle Mignot was never going to be an easy task, but the back-row has flourished with the responsibility and is yet to taste defeat as Les Bleues captain, having led her country to the Women’s Six Nations Grand Slam in 2018 – before her 22nd birthday. France are blessed with back-row talent but Hermet has the all-round game with her leadership acumen combining with her power, strong running and ferocious defence.
SAFI N’DIAYE (FRANCE)
Another powerful forward, N’Diaye is nominated for the second year running despite having shifted from her traditional number eight berth into the second row since the World Cup. Easily identifiable on the pitch by her patriotic scrum cap, the 30-year-old consistently gets over the gain-line and started every match in France’s Grand Slam success. A nuisance at the breakdown, her powerful runs make her a difficult player to stop when she gets going.
JESSY TRÉMOULIÈRE (FRANCE)
Her talent has never been in question but Trémoulière was truly at her mercurial best in 2018 and was for many the player of the Women’s Six Nations, a competition in which she finished as the top point scorer and joint-top try scorer. The 26-year-old blossomed with the faith placed on her as first-choice full-back, bursting through defences at will – scoring two tries against England, including the last-minute winner – and displaying her repertoire of kicking honed during her days as a footballer. She switched to sevens after the Grand Slam success, helping France reach their first ever World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series Cup final and secure their best-ever finish of third overall.
These awards are two of 13 categories of awards, including the World Rugby Team of the Year, World Rugby Coach of the Year, World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of the Year in association with HSBC and World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in association with Tudor.
For more information on the World Rugby Awards, visit www.worldrugby.org/awards
Previous World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year Award winners:
2017 – Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
2016 – Sarah Hunter (England)
2015 – Kendra Cocksedge (New Zealand)
2014 – Magali Harvey (Canada)
2012 – Michaela Staniford (England)
2011 – Ruth Mitchell
2010 – Carla Hohepa (New Zealand)
2009 – Debby Hodgkinson (Australia)
2008 – Carol Isherwood (England)
2007 – Sarah Corrigan (Australia)
2006 – Maggie Alphonsi (England)
2005 – Farah Palmer (New Zealand)
2004 – Donna Kennedy (Scotland)
2003 – Kathy Flores (USA)
2002 – Monique Hirovanaa (New Zealand)
2001 – Shelley Rae (England)
Courtesy of World Rugby