Johnny Sexton: Ireland fly-half in running for World Rugby award

Johnny Sexton
Sexton has won three major competitions for Leinster and Ireland this year

Leinster and Ireland fly-half Johnny Sexton has been nominated for the World Rugby men's player of the year award.

Sexton - the only player from the northern hemisphere to appear on the five-man shortlist - is up against 2017 recipient Beauden Barrett and fellow Kiwi Rieko Ioane.

South Africans Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx complete the list of nominees.

The winner will be announced at the World Rugby Awards in Monte Carlo on 25 November.

The women's award will also be handed out that evening and four French players are in the shortlist.

Safi N'Diaye, Jessy Tremouliere, Gaelle Hermet and Pauline Bourdon were part of the French Six Nations Grand Slam campaign, while New Zealand captain Fiao'o Faamausili is also nominated.

Dublin-born Sexton, 33, has enjoyed an outstanding year for club and country, steering Leinster to a Pro14 and European Champions Cup double.

Johnny Sexton with the European Champions Cup
Sexton kicked three penalties as Leinster defeated Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup final

His dramatic overtime drop-goal in Ireland's Six Nations opener against France paved the way for Joe Schmidt's side to clinch just their third Grand Slam, while he also featured in all three Tests as Ireland claimed their first series win in Australia for 39 years.

Keith Wood is the last Irishman to have collected the award in 2001, with Frenchman Thierry Dusautoir's win in 2011 the last time that the honour has gone to a player from outside New Zealand.

Barrett, 27, has won the last two awards and enjoyed another impressive campaign with the All Blacks, guiding them to a seventh-consecutive Rugby Championship during which he scored four tries in a single match against Australia.

Former Sevens star Ioane, 21, has scored 22 tries in 21 international Tests, including a 12-minute hat-trick against France in June.

South Africa are the only side to have defeated the All Blacks so far this year, with a thrilling 36-34 win in Wellington.

Sale Sharks scrum-half de Klerk, 27, has established himself as one of the most dangerous number nines in the game, however he will miss South Africa's opening November international against England on Saturday due to the match taking place outside World Rugby's international window.

The Springboks will however be able to call upon the services of destructive hooker Marx, 24, who has averaged a turnover every 49 minutes in test rugby in 2018, and is widely regarded as one of the best forwards in the game.

The shortlist was assembled by an eight-person panel which included former Ireland captain Brian O'Driscoll and England's World Cup winning coach Sir Clive Woodward.

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