THERE was mixed news for Scotland scrum-halves yesterday, with national skipper Greig Laidlaw nominated for the World Rugby Player of the Year award while his deputy Henry Pyrgos was ruled out injured for four months.
Pyrgos exacerbated a wrist injury while on Scotland duty and will miss the start of the Six Nations. His Glasgow team-mate Fraser Brown also faces a couple of months on the sidelines after the Scotland hooker suffered a foot injury.
It’s very humbling and I can take a huge amount of prideGREIG LAIDLAW
Laidlaw, meanwhile, is one of six nominees chosen by a panel chaired by Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales and which also contained former Scotland and Lions skipper Gavin Hastings.
The Gloucester scrum-half, who was an impressive performer leading Scotland to the quarter-final stage of this year’s tournament when they were unfortunate to lose 35-34 to subsequent finalists Australia, is one of only two northern hemisphere players to make the shortlist along with Wales lock Alun Wyn Jones.
The 30-year-old from Jedburgh is only the second Scot to be nominated since the awards were introduced in 2001 following fellow scrum-half Mike Blair in 2008.
World Cup finalists New Zealand and Australia each have two players on the list – stand-off Dan Carter and wing Julian Savea for the All Blacks and back-row colleagues Michael Hooper and David Pocock for the Wallabies.
Former Edinburgh captain Laidlaw scored the crucial try which helped Scotland beat Samoa in their final Pool B match and qualify for the last eight. With 79 points to his name he is also one of the leading scorers in this year’s tournament.
The World Rugby Player of the Year 2015 Award in association with MasterCard will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at Battersea Evolution in London tomorrow. Scotland centre Mark Bennett has also been nominated for the emerging player award.
Laidlaw told the Scottish Rugby website: “It’s very humbling to be nominated and I can take a huge amount of pride from being on the shortlist 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 was probably a bit of a late developer but 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.”