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Fly half Ford nominated for top Junior gong

07 July 2011

  • Ford nominated for top Junior awared after impressive JWC
  • I can’t take too much credit for the nomination – George Ford
England U20 fly half George Ford

Photo: Getty Images

England Under 20 and Leicester Tigers fly half George Ford has been nominated by the International Rugby Board as one of three young players shortlisted for the Junior Player of the Year 2011 Award in association, with Emirates Airline.

The nominees were selected following the recent record-breaking IRB Junior World Championship held in Italy, the most competitive edition of the U20 tournament to date. Ford would be the first Englishman to win the award, although London Wasps scrum half Joe Simpson and Sale Sharks forward Carl Fearns were both nominated in 2008 and 2009, respectively.

New Zealand duo Sam Cane and Luke Whitelock are also up for the award, and will be hoping to make it a Baby Blacks triumph for the fifth consecutive year. The shortlist represents the voting of team head coaches and match officials, as well as international and local media at the tournament.

England U20 fly half George Ford

Photo: Getty Images

Speaking about his nomination, Ford says that it was team effort in Italy: “It’s a massive honour to be nominated for the award, especially when you consider that the likes of All Blacks regulars Luke McAllister and Isaia Toeava are among previous winners.

“It was a massive team effort over there though, and while we were gutted not to win the whole thing, we performed well throughout and can take a lot from the competition. I can’t take too much credit for the nomination, we had a squad of 26 players who all played their part.

“Sam Cane and Luke Whitelock are both good players who I have massive respect for and they both deserve their nominations. A lot of our squad will be back next year ready to give it another go."

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: “These three players excelled in Italy and they reflect the exciting talent that was on show in a tournament which continues to go from strength to strength."

The winner will be announced at the IRB Awards in Auckland on October 24.

Previous Winners:

  • 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: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
  • 2003 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
  • 2003 - IRB U21 Player of the Year: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
  • 2002 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
  • 2002 - IRB U21 Player of the Year: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
  • 2001 - IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)