England duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje have been shortlisted for World Rugby men’s player of the year.
The duo are joined on the five-man shortlist by Australia’s Israel Folau as well as New Zealand pair Beauden Barrett and Rieko Ioane.
The shortlist was selected by the new star-studded World Rugby awards panel comprising World Cup winners Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi and former England coach Clive Woodward alongside Brian O’Driscoll, Fabien Galthié and Agustín Pichot.
Once voting has concluded the panel will consider the winners of the prestigious awards which will be presented at the World Rugby awards at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 26 November.
Farrell and Itoje both helped England to seal a successive Six Nations title earlier this year and were also part of the British & Irish Lions squad that drew their Test series with world champions New Zealand in the summer.
“There have been numerous highlights from a fascinating year of international rugby that comprised an outstanding Women’s Rugby World Cup, a compelling British and Irish Lions tour, Six Nations and The Rugby Championship competitions and a superb programme of test rugby," said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont.
“As ever, the selection of Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year nominees by the panel has excellence as the core consideration and all are not just superb players, but role models.
“I am sure there will be lots of debate over the coming weeks. I’d like to thank the panel for their expert consideration and look forward to the winners being announced at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco.”