May 7, 2014 (ISN) – A shortlist of four nominees – one Englishman, one Fijian, one New Zealander and one South African – has been unveiled for the 2014 IRB Sevens Player of the Year Award, in association with HSBC.
Ahead of the final round of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series in London, Kyle Brown (South Africa), Tim Mikkelson (New Zealand), Tom Mitchell (England) and Samisoni Viriviri (Fiji) have been nominated for the award.
The outstanding quartet were voted by the management teams of the 15 core sides who compete at all nine rounds of the World Series.
The winner will be announced at a function following the final round of the Series, the Marriott London Sevens at Twickenham on 10-11 May.
Kyle Brown, SA – As captain of South Africa, Brown has led the Blitzbokke to Cup wins in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas this season, and six top-four finishes. A flanker in the 15-man game, Brown’s versatility and strength allows him to play hooker in Sevens, a position he has made his own, and he is a fine ambassador for the game.
Tim Mikkelson, NZ – The reigning IRB Sevens Player of the year, Mikkelson makes the shortlist on the back of another supremely consistent season for champions elect, New Zealand. Able to play in the forwards and across the backline, Mikkelson’s fitness levels make him one of the best support players in the game and he is second only to Viriviri in the try-scoring charts.
Tom Mitchell, ENG – Handed the England captaincy by new coach Simon Amor, Mitchell has led by example and inspired his side to six top-four finishes so far. His restarts are key to England’s ball-winning capabilities and he is also the season’s top point-scorer with 310.
Samisoni Viriviri, FIJ – In the mould of all the greatest Fijian flyers, Samisoni Viriviri has electric pace and a sharp eye for the line. His clinical finishing has helped Fiji to wins in Dubai and Tokyo and he scores at the rate of one try per game, with 48 so far this season.
IRB Chairman, Bernard Lapasset, said: “These four players have performed supremely this season and to be nominated by the teams you have played against is the highest accolade you can receive as a player.
“This shows just how significant their individual contributions have been for their teams and I would like to thank them and all the rest of the players for their dedication this season, and for making the HSBC Sevens World Series such a huge success.”
Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship for HSBC Holdings said: “The HSBC Sevens World Series has gone from strength to strength and the level of performance now achieved by the players is truly exceptional. Whilst Sevens is a team sport, these four individuals have shone throughout the Series for their sides and have provided a combination of skill and entertainment to the game.”
The men’s Sevens is the first IRB Award to be announced in 2014 and a video news release will be made available to download via FTP after the presentation. VNR details will be made available via IRB media release.
IRB Sevens Player of the Year – Roll of honour
2013 Tim Mikkelson, New Zealand
2012 Tomasi Cama, New Zealand
2011 Cecil Afrika, South Africa
2010 Mikaele Pesamino, Samoa
2009 Ollie Phillips, England
2008 DJ Forbes, New Zealand
2007 Afeleke Pelenise, New Zealand
2006 Uale Mai, Samoa
2005 Orene Ai’i, New Zealand
2004 Simon Amor, England