A quartet of Women’s Six Nations stars have a chance to follow in Jessy Trémoulière’s footsteps after being nominated for the World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year award.
The gong will be presented at the World Rugby Awards at The Prince Park Tower in Tokyo on Sunday with English trio Sarah Bern, Katy Daley-Mclean and Emily Scarratt, as well as France’s Pauline Bourdon all nominated.
New Zealand’s Kendra Cocksedge completes the nominees as the only non-Women’s Six Nations player up for the award, with England well represented after securing a memorable Grand Slam earlier this year.
Prop Bern, 22, is a former back-rower whose turn of pace and power around the park have made her a nightmare for defenders in the Championship to deal with.
She started eight of England’s nine matches in 2019, including every match of the Grand Slam campaign, and she scored five tries – second only to Red Roses winger Jess Breach.
At 33 years old, Daley-Mclean is the oldest of the five nominees and her 107 caps of international experience proved invaluable as she ended the Women’s Six Nations as the top points scorer, with 53.
She passed 500 Test points for England during the Championship – a figure bettered only by Jonny Wilkinson and Owen Farrell.
Scarratt had been focusing on sevens rugby since the 2017 World Cup but slotted back into the XVs format with ease – starting four matches during the Women’s Six Nations and scoring a try against Scotland.
The 29-year-old then went on to score four tries in three starts, and 43 points in total, during the Women’s Rugby Super Series.
Five players have been nominated for the World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year 2019, in association with @Mastercard @SarahLily2468 ENG@PaulineBourdon9 FRA@katymc10 ENG@kenj0119 NZL @EmilyScarratt ENG
— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) November 1, 2019
The versatile Bourdon is nominated for the second year in a row, having narrowly missed out to team-mate Trémoulière 12 months ago.
The 23-year-old shone for Les Bleues during the Championship, scoring three tries from scrum-half – including a double against England – before moving to fly-half for the final two matches and started eight of nine matches for France in total this year.
The judging panel features Rugby World Cup winners Melodie Robinson and Danielle Waterman alongside World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Liza Burgess, Lynne Cantwell, Fiona Coghlan, Gaëlle Mignot, Jillion Potter, Karl Te Nana and journalist Stephen Jones.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year awards are the ultimate accolade for test players and this year there have been an exceptional number of outstanding candidates.
“I would like to congratulate all 11 players who, deservingly, have been nominated for this year’s award.”