Ultimate Rugby's Tier 2 Player of the Year Nominees

Ultimate Rugby's Tier 2 Player of the Year Nominees

The winners of the World Rugby Awards will be announced this evening with Beauden Barrett, Faf de Klerk, Jonathan Sexton, Malcolm Marx and Rieko Ioane up for the Men's World Player of the Year.

However, it seems that Tier 2 nations are often overlooked for the award with Fijian superstar Nemani Nadolo highlighting the issue and asking whether should be a separate award for Tier 2 nations.

With that in mind, we picked our five nominees for a potential Tier 2 Men's Player of the Year for 2018.

There were a number of close calls with a plenty of top stars missing out as it happens everytime these kinds of awards are handed out.

1. Leone Nakawara - Fiji


The Fijian lock helped Racing 92 to the Champions Cup final and was named the player of the competition and although the performances in the test arena having more of an effect, his efforts with the Paris based side are hard to ignore.

Nakawara did play a pivotal role in the international set up as well as Fiji claimed wins over Georgia, France, Canada as well as Scotland last June.

2. Joe Taufete'e - USA


The Worcester Warriors hooker has been nothing short of sublime for USA over the past 12 months.

He scored a brace against Scotland in June, was incredible in helping USA claim a spot in the World Cup in Japan and their 10 game unbeaten run and finished the year with a try against Ireland. 

3. Michael Leitch - Japan

The Japanese International has led his country with such distinction and is one of the finest blindside flankers in the game.

He was immense against the All Blacks and followed that up with a superb performance against stellar performance against England.

Leitch was also crucial in Japan's draw with France last November and was vital in their wins over Georgia and Italy in June.

4. Paul Lasike - USA


Lasike makes the list after impressing following his move switch from NFL to rugby union. The talented inside centre has fronted up physically and looks right at home with the USA men's side and stars for Harlequins in the Premiership.

Like Taufete'e, Lasike played a key role in helping USA to a fantastic unbeaten run and was emphatic in the America's Rugby Championship and their rise to 10th in the World Rugby Rankings.

5. Semi Radradra - Fiji 


Radradra has lit up the 7s and 15s game since making his shift from rugby league. He was sensational for Toulon before making the move to Bordeaux Begles and has been outstanding for Fiji as they continue to rise up the World Rugby rankings.

The centre has speed, power and a brilliant offloading game that is hard to match. Like Nakawara, Radradra played a vital role in all of Fiji's big wins over the past 12 months and was a success with the sevens side.

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