England and France provide two players each to a four-strong Women’s 15s Player of the Year shortlist at the World Rugby Awards.
All four stars are first-time nominees for the award, with England duo Zoe Aldcroft and Poppy Cleall joining France’s Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus.
England were unstoppable en route to the Women’s Six Nations crown earlier this year, with Aldcroft and Cleall two powerhouses of their pack and having the versatility to play in either the second or back row.
The Red Roses beat Les Bleues 10-6 on Finals Day to seal the title for a third year in a row, with Aldcroft subsequently voted as the Women’s Six Nations Player of the Round for her display.
Aldcroft was relentless from start to finish, making more tackles (15) than any other England player and setting off on 14 carries to boot.
Cleall also won a public vote to be named 2021 Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship, supported by Guinness, after a series of brilliant displays.
How good was @poppy_g_c?!
🦸♀️ 138 players
📆 21 Days
🏉 9 Matches
🏆 1 Player of the Championship
— Women’s Six Nations (@Womens6Nations) May 5, 2021
Mostly playing at No.8, Cleall won Player of the Match against Scotland after a powerhouse performance alongside sister Bryony and followed that up with the match-winning try in the final against France.
She succeeded Emily Scarratt as Women’s Six Nations Player of the Championship and will look to do likewise for World Rugby’s Women’s 15s Player of the Year, after her teammate was awarded the gong in 2019.
Meanwhile, Boujard and Sansus will try to follow in the footsteps of Jessy Tremouliere, who won the award in 2018 as both make the shortlist after stellar years for Les Bleues.
Boujard’s lightning hat-trick against Wales – believed to be the joint-fastest treble in Women’s Six Nations history, taking just 14 minutes – lit up the Championship and helped her earn a nomination for the global award.
And Sansus is the latest off a conveyor belt of French scrum-half talent, with her nomination ensuring a France No.9 is on the shortlist for the third straight year.
Sansus pulled the strings from No.9 for Les Bleues throughout the Women’s Six Nations, where they only narrowly lost in the final to England, and has continued that form into the autumn.