DUBLIN, November 25- Contenders for this years IIternational Rugby Boards (IRB) Payer of the Year award have been named and the list includes Springbok captain Victor Matfield.The nominees were announced on Thursday by the rugby’s governing body announced where Matfield is joined by last year’s winner, All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, his teammate Mills Muliaina, France’s Imanol Harinordoquy and Australians David Pocock and Kurtley Beale.
The winner will be announced on December 1 when the awards for IRB Coach of the Year and Team of the Year will also be made known.
"The IRB player-of-the-year award is the greatest individual honour presented annually in our game," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The six players nominated have all enjoyed an exceptional year of international rugby and have been judged on their performances in the RBS Six Nations, Tri-Nations, June and November tests," he said.
The IRB Awards independent panel of judges which selected them consists of Australia’s Rugby World Cup-winning captain John Eales, as chairman, with Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.
Between them, they have more than 500 caps and four World Cup winner’s medals.
Previous winners of the IRB Player of the Year Award:
2009 – Richie McCaw (NZL)
2008 – Shane Williams (WAL)
2007 – Bryan Habana (RSA)
2006 – Richie McCaw (NZL)
2005 – Dan Carter (NZL)
2004 – Schalk Burger (RSA)
2003 – Jonny Wilkinson (ENG)
2002 – Fabien Galthie (FRA)
2001 – Keith Wood (IRL)