Just what is the IRB trying to prove?

LIAM NAPIER
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2012
Owen Farrell
Getty Images
SURPRISE PICK: Owen Farrell has been nominated for IRB player of the year.

Relevant offers

Opinion

Only the selectors really know when it comes to picking squads All Blacks 2015 World Cup team: 'We don't need three halfbacks' Toby Robson: Lima Sopoaga's omission from All Blacks World Cup squad is hard to fathom Reason: England intent on bludgeoning way to World Cup crown Gifford: Most dramatic All Blacks selection in history of World Cup Robson: Lima Sopoaga, Tawera Kerr-Barlow a must, no room for Dagg, Jane Knowler: Aaron Smith could do Israel Dagg a Rugby World Cup favour Gifford: England are the greatest Rugby World Cup threat Strang: Sevens squad needs added pace to win Olympic favourites tag Reason: All Blacks have plenty of work to do ahead of Rugby World Cup defence

OPINION: Somebody should cite the IRB for nominating Owen Farrell for the international player of the year award.

It smacks of a political statement rather than a sensible assessment of the world's best players through 2012.

Surely, IRB boss Brett Gosper will launch another appeal. This one may be justified.

Alongside All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, a three-time winner of the award, test rugby's record point's scorer Dan Carter and reborn French first five-eighth Frederic Michalak, Farrell looks like a schoolboy, as out of place as a kilt in central London.

It's been some time - nine years to be exact - since Jonny Wilkinson last won the award. That's no excuse for a political French kiss. No reason to appease and pander to the Poms.

Farrell, the son of dual international Andy, has pedigree. He made his debut in this year's Six Nations and is a talented test rookie, an accurate goal-kicker and strong defender. But as Stuart Lancaster's second-choice pivot and after just nine tests, he is not fit for such a nomination. Not yet anyway.

Many thought Farrell made the shortlist of the young player of the year award, only to stare in disbelief on second glance.

The saving grace for the IRB would be if Farrell had been included as part of a policy to recognise future stars. That would fit admirably in the spirit of the global game, given former All Blacks captain Tana Umaga, a Laureus award-winner for sportsmanship, was among the nine-man panel.

Otherwise, the governing body has created unnecessary confusion.

To be fair, Farrell didn't ask for the nomination. And it's is one the 21-year-old could probably do without, just two days before he starts, by default, with Toby Flood injured, in the No 10 jersey against the world champions. He didn't need further pressure and scrutiny in-front of 80,000 at Twickenham.

Inspirational Argentinean captain Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe, the world's best No 8 Kieran Read, Welsh flanker Dan Lydiate and lethal All Blacks fullback Israel Dagg, or even South African wing Bryan Habana were more deserving of the recognition.

In the end it won't matter, because when McCaw inevitably wins the prize at least it will regain some credibility.

Ad Feedback

- Fairfax Media

Special offers
Opinion poll

What did you make of this year's ITM Cup?

It was as good a season as I can remember.

It was great to see the smaller provinces perform well.

I caught the odd game here and there.

Sorry, it was an utter snore-fest.

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content