Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Jones and Laidlaw in battle for top world rugby player

By Gavin McCafferty

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw and Wales forward Alun Wyn Jones have been nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year.

Laidlaw and Jones are the only northern-hemisphere players on a six-man short-list which also features Australian pair Michael Hooper and David Pocock and All Blacks Dan Carter and Julian Savea.

Jones made his 100th Test appearance in the World Cup quarter-final defeat by South Africa, having played 94 times for Wales plus six appearances for the British and Irish Lions.

The Ospreys second-row is looking to follow in the footsteps of fellow Welshman Shane Williams, who was the last Home Nations player to win the award in 2008.

Gloucester scrum-half Laidlaw exited the World Cup in the quarter-finals as top points scorer with 79.

The 30-year-old, who made his Scotland debut almost five years ago, said: "It's very humbling to be nominated and I can take a huge amount of pride from being on the short-list for something as big as World Rugby Player of the Year. The calibre of player on the rest of the list speaks for itself.

"I'm extremely happy but I think it's a credit to everybody involved in the Scotland team. I think everybody played well and I think that goes a long way.

"I was probably a bit of a late developer in terms of getting capped a little later in my career. However, I still feel as though I've got a huge amount to give the Scotland jersey going forward.

"Hopefully the Rugby World Cup was just a starting point for that. I'm definitely not done yet. I've worked hard on my rugby for a number of years and feel this is probably the best stage of my career."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph