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Kiwi flavour on World Rugby Awards panels

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World Rugby     21 Mar 2019     Getty Images

Former Black Fern and two-time Women’s Rugby World Cup winner Melodie Robinson is recognised for contribution to the game with a spot on the men's 15s panel. She joins two other well-respected new-comers in former Samoa centre Seilala Mapusua and Ireland captain Fiona Coghlan on the panel. The trio join a blend of Test stars and World Rugby Hall of Fame inductees in Maggie Alphonsi, Fabien Galthié, George Gregan, Richie McCaw, Brian O’Driscoll, Agustín Pichot and John Smit.

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The new Women’s 15s Player of the Year panel features three Rugby World Cup winners in Danielle Waterman, Robinson and Will Greenwood, World Rugby Hall of Fame inductee Liza Burgess, Ireland duo Lynne Cantwell and Coghlan, former France captain Gaëlle Mignot, former USA Sevens captain Jillion Potter, journalist Stephen Jones and former All Blacks Sevens captain Karl Te Nana.

Two Rugby World Cup winners in former Black Ferns captain Fiao’o Faamausili and Springbok Bryan Habana join Felipe Contepomi and Jamie Heaslip on the panel for the Breakthrough Player of the Year in association with TUDOR award, won by South Africa’s Aphiwe Dyantyi in 2018.

A panel of five former players and coaches, meanwhile, will determine the World Rugby Coach and Team of the Year in Alphonsi, O’Driscoll, Pichot, RWC 2003 winning coach Clive Woodward and former South Africa and Italy coach Nick Mallett.

The World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Sevens Player of the Year awards have previously been voted for by team managers, commentators, match officials and players but a dedicated panel of former sevens stars has been introduced for 2019. The panel features Kenya’s Humphrey Kayange, former Canada captain Jen Kish, Tiana Penitani, Te Nana, Waterman and two-time Rugby World Cup Sevens winner Marika Vunibaka of Fiji.

For more on the World Rugby Awards, visit http://www.world.rugby/awards