The International Rugby Board has confirmed a shortlist of three nominees for the IRB Junior Player of the Year Award 2012, with the winner set to be announced following the IRB Junior World Championship final at Newlands on Friday, June 22.
Hosts South Africa, who reached the final by defeating Argentina 35-3 on Sunday, have Shaun Adendorff and Jan Serfontein nominated with JJ Hanrahan from Ireland completing the outstanding trio.
The shortlist represents the voting of team managers, match officials and media at the tournament.
For the first time, the public now has the chance to vote on this shortlist on the official Facebook page www.facebook.com/irbjuniorworldrugby. The results of the public poll will be considered, along with the original votes, when finalising the winner.
“We have enjoyed some wonderful individual performances at this tournament and some memorable matches. The skill levels, passion and dedication of the future stars of Rugby on show in Cape Town during the past three weeks have been breathtaking,” said IRB Vice Chairman Oregan Hoskins.
“I send my warmest congratulations to the three nominees who have contributed to an outstanding event, and wish all the players well for the final round of matches on Friday.”
JJ Hanrahan (Ireland)
A first nomination for Ireland in this Award, the 19-year-old returned for his second Junior World Championship and opened his 2012 account with a 13-point haul against South Africa in Pool B. Hanrahan switched to fly half for the tournament after playing centre in the Under 20 Six Nations, when captain Paddy Jackson didn’t travel, and he has been the driving force in the Irish team often controlling the tempo of the game. An exceptional kicker, possessing maturity and vision with his tactical kicking game, he is the joint second-highest point scorer at JWC 2012. One key reason that Ireland have already guaranteed their best ever JWC finish is the excellent relationship he has formed with his half back partner, Kieran Marmion.
Shaun Adendorff (South Africa)
The hardworking and robust 20-year-old flanker enjoyed an inspired match against England in the deciding Pool B clash to ensure the hosts reached the semifinals. He has consistently displayed a fantastic work rate coupled with real pace, and his speed off the mark has been impressive. He has the ability to be at the right place at the right time, and always manages to put his team on the front foot. There has been unquestionable strength and commitment from the player who came into the JWC from the Craven Week tournament, regarded by many as a stepping stone to professional Rugby.
Jan Serfontein (South Africa)
The 19-year-old centre from Port Elizabeth has also starred at the Coca-Cola Craven Week tournament, and was named player of the tournament in 2011. With Vodacom Cup experience already under his belt following a debut for the Vodacom Blue Bulls this year, Serfontein has shown himself to be a class player with excellent distribution of the ball. He is elusive and creative, with great vision and awareness. His running lines have been exceptional, and his ability to break has set up many tries as he creates time and space for others. Serfontein has been described by commentators as a player in the mould of Brian O’Driscoll.
2011 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: George Ford (England)
2010 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand)
2009 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
2008 – IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
2007 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 – IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 – IRB International U21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 – IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 – IRB U21 Player of the Year in assoc. with Waterford Crystal: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 – IRB U21 Player of the Year, in assoc. with Waterford: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
2001 – IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)