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October 31, 2015

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Pocock, Savea in player of year battle

AUSTRALIA’S resurgent ball scavenger David Pocock and All Black try sensation Julian Savea are rivals for the World Player of the Year as well as in today’s Rugby World Cup final.

Pocock and Savea are among four players from today’s Twickenham finalists on the shortlist of six for player of the year to be announced tomorrow.

The 27-year-old Pocock, who has recovered from two knee reconstructions in two years to play a stunning role for Australia, and the 25-year-old Savea, who has scored eight tries at the RWC, are joined on the list by Dan Carter of New Zealand, Michael Hooper of Australia, Alun Wyn Jones of Wales and Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw.

Carter, who won the award in 2005 and 2012 and has a record 1,579 test points, will play in his 112th and final test against Australia today.

He is appearing in his fourth RWC, alongside teammates Richie McCaw and Keven Mealamu, but while the three of them all own a winner’s medal from 2011, Carter’s is unlikely to take pride of place on his mantelpiece.

The flyhalf was looking in fine form in the first two group games on home soil before a groin injury ended his tournament and he watched the final from the stands.

Hooper, at 24 the second youngest player to reach 50 caps against Argentina in the semifinal, has formed a powerful partnership with Pocock and Scott Fardy in the Australia back row.

Wyn Jones has been a towering presence in the Wales team which reached the quarterfinal despite major injury absences. Laidlaw was the leading points scorer with 79 when Scotland bowed out of the World Cup in the quarterfinals against the Australian Wallabies.


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