England’s Maro Itoje on shortlist for World Rugby Player of the Year

Lock forward is joined by teammates Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell, along with All Blacks Beauden Barrett and Dane Coles and Ireland’s Jamie Heaslip; the winner will be announced later this weekend

PUBLISHED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 11:47pm
UPDATED : Monday, 07 November, 2016, 11:47pm

Maro Itoje capped a stunning breakthrough year when the young England lock forward was included on Monday in a six-man shortlist for World Rugby Player of the Year.

The 22-year-old, who made his international debut in February, was joined by Six Nations grand slam-winning teammates Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell. The trio also helped England to a 3-0 series win in Australia.

All Blacks fly half Beauden Barrett, who has moved seamlessly into the No 10 jersey vacated by Dan Carter, and fellow New Zealander Dane Coles were also on the list.

Ireland forward Jamie Heaslip completes the nominations selected by independent panels featuring former internationals and media. The winner will be announced on Sunday in London.

Itoje, who has been ruled out of the autumn internationals because of a fractured hand, also won the English Premiership and European Champions Cup with his club Saracens.