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Finalists head U20 awards shortlist

Thu, 20 Jun 2013 15:57
Jack-clifford-england Sam-davies-wales

This event is a finishing school for the future stars

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Finalists Wales and England head the shortlist of nominations for the International Rugby Board Junior Player of the Year 2013 Award.

The winner is set to be announced following the Final at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes on Sunday.

Wales and England each have a player nominated - in flyhalf Sam Davies and captain and No.8 Jack Clifford respectively.

New Zealand captain and flank Ardie Savea complete the shortlist.

A panel comprising commentators, official TV production team and analysts selected their top three players from every match across the four rounds and a shortlist was then provided for the 12 coaches to vote on their top three players.

The public now has the chance to vote on this shortlist on the official Facebook page - www.facebook.com/irbjuniorworldrugby.

The results of the public poll will be considered, along with the original votes, when finalising the winner.

"The IRB Junior World Championship is all about building character through a strong team ethic and achieving success through solidarity, discipline, respect, passion and integrity and the class of 2013 have once again demonstrated that the future of our sport is in very good hands," said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"This event has a proven track record as a finishing school for the future stars of Rugby and more than 230 players have graduated to perform on the international stage.

"While it is difficult to predict who will follow in the footsteps of previous winners Braid, Cruden, Savea, Ford and Serfontein, and it is even more difficult to select a shortlist when there have been so many outstanding performances, the nominees thoroughly deserve their place."

"My congratulations go to the nominees, their teams and every player who has contributed to what is once again a wonderful showcase for the future of our Game."

Sam Davies (Wales): The Welsh flyhalf showed nerves of steel to slot the conversion from near the touchline to seal a 18-17 win over South Africa and secure a first JWC final for his country. Calm and composed, the 19-year-old runs the backline and is the creative influence to unleash the flyers outside him. The Ospreys' No.10, playing in his second Junior World Championship, kicks well off both feet and also from hand, as demonstrated with his perfectly weighted kick for Ashley Evans to score the try that set up his match-winning kick in the semifinal.

Jack Clifford (England): The No.8 has already captained England Under-20s to the Six Nations title this year and will hope to add a first JWC title to his resume. A good leader, the Harlequins back row is a powerful runner and has made a number of breaks that have led to tries for England, including one in the semifinal against New Zealand. The 20-year-old seems destined for future honours in an England jersey.

Ardie Savea (New Zealand): The younger brother of former winner Julian, the flank has been the heartbeat of the New Zealand side at JWC 2013. A natural leader, he has led the Baby Blacks from the front in a team that struggled against Ireland and England in the forward exchanges. The 19-year-old Hurricanes back row also scored one of the fastest tries in JWC history after ripping the ball from a Fijian grasp on day one. He also possesses a never say die attitude and is a hot tip to follow his brother and wear the All Blacks jersey.

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