Sunday 28 November 2010
The International Rugby Board will name their world player of the year on Wednesday with the holder and only two-time winner, Richie McCaw, short odds to complete a hat-trick and the shortlist continuing the recent southern hemisphere domination. McCaw, who first won in 2006, has been nominated alongside his All Black team-mate Mils Muliaina, South Africa's Victor Matfield and Australian tyros David Pocock and Kurtley Beale, with France's resurgent back-rower Imanol Harinordoquy providing Europe's sole interest. Since Keith Wood (2001), Fabien Galthié (2002) and Jonny Wilkinson (2003), only Shane Williams (2008) has won from north of the equator. Poignantly, on the same day at 2.30pm, the memorial service will be held at London's Southwark Cathedral for a home-grown star of another era whose lustre never faded: Andy Ripley.