Black Ferns dominate World Rugby Awards nominations, ABs snubbed

November 15, 2022
Against the odds, the Black Ferns are world champions again.

The Black Ferns are set to finish their remarkable year on another high with four players and coach Wayne Smith receiving nominations for this year's World Rugby Awards.

World Rugby revealed the finalists for next week's awards this morning with Black Ferns wing Portia Woodman and first-five Ruahei Demant up for Women's 15s Player of the Year and wing Ruby Tui and lock Maiakawanakaulani Roos vying for Breakthrough Women's 15s Player of the Year.

Departing Director of Rugby Wayne Smith has also been put up for Coach of the Year.

The Black Ferns were the only New Zealand team to receive nominations this year with both New Zealand Sevens teams and the All Blacks missing out.

The latter is an interesting call for commentators with pundits questioning whether Ardie Savea should have been a finalist for the Men's 15s Player of the Year after his impressive and consistent performances in the black jersey despite a rollercoaster 2022 for the team.

Woodman and Demant's nominations speak for themselves, though.

Woodman, who won the award in 2017, scored seven tries at the World Cup in New Zealand to take her tournament tally to a record 20 while first-time nominee Demant was named Player of the Match in their final victory against England.

Ruahei Demant takes on the England defence in the nerve-wracking final win over England.

Joining the pair are Canada captain Sophie de Goede, who had a strong showing in New Zealand, and England loose forward Alex Matthews who started every match for the Red Roses in their Six Nations and World Cup campaigns.

Rounding out the nominations is French halfback Laure Sansus.

Roos and Tui are up against England prop Maud Muir and Fijiana's Vitalina Naikore for breakthrough player of the year with both Kiwis earning their nominations after cementing themselves as key pieces in Smith's squad at this year's World Cup.

Smith is up against England's Simon Middleton after he guided them to a 30-match winning streak and Rugby World Cup final as well as Ireland men's coach Andy Farrell, who masterminded their first series win in New Zealand over the All Blacks this year, plus French men's coach Fabien Galthie who helped Les Bleus to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

The winners will be announced at an Awards Ceremony in Monaco on Monday morning (NZ time).