The list is unsurprisingly dominated by Ireland, after Joe Schmidt’s side secured the Grand Slam for just the third time in history, with fly-half Johnny Sexton, wingers Keith Earls and Jacob Stockdale and scrum-half Conor Murray making up four of the six-player list.
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Italy’s 21-year-old full-back Matteo Minozzi makes the list after becoming the first Azzuri player in Six Nations history to score a try in four successive games, while France captain Guilhem Guirado is included after a strong showing for Jacques Brunel’s side.
But no Scots have made the cut, despite a first win over England for a decade, victories over France and Italy and Jonny Gray becoming the first player to make 100 tackles in a Six Nations campaign.
Gray completed all but three of his hits in the 2018 tournament, breaking Joe Launchbury’s record of 85 from the previous year.
The nominations were compiled by rugby writers and broadcasters from each of the competing countries. The panel put forward their top three nominations for the award, and the votes were compiled to identify a six-man shortlist.
There are no Welsh players shortlisted for the award, despite Warren Gatland’s men taking second place in the final table with a 14-13 win over France on the final day, while England aren’t represented after a below-par tournament saw them finish second bottom.
Shortlist: Keith Earls (IRE), Guilhem Guirado (FRA), Matteo Minozzi (ITA), Conor Murray (IRE), Johnny Sexton (IRE), Jacob Stockdale (IRE).
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