The 2018 Munster Rugby Awards, in association with the Irish Independent, take place as part of a lunchtime event at the Clayton Hotel Silver Springs in Cork next Wednesday, with the nominations for Irish Independent Munster Rugby Player of the Year now finalised.
All profits raised from the event will be donated to the Irish Heart Foundation, Munster Rugby’s nominated charity for the season. The Player of the Year nominees are Keith Earls, Jean Kleyn and Rory Scannell, all of whom were nominated by their fellow team-mates.
Kleyn has been nominated for his first Munster Rugby award, while Earls and Scannell are both in the running to become the first player to win the Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and Greencore Academy Player of the Year awards.
Earls won the Academy award in 2007 and Young Player of the Year in 2009, with Scannell winning both awards in 2016. The overall winner will be decided by a public vote. Click here to vote via the Irish Independent website and be in with a chance to win two tickets to the Awards event.
Previous winners of the prestigious accolade include last year’s winner Tyler Bleyendaal, two-time recipient CJ Stander, Conor Murray, Tommy O’Donnell, Donnacha Ryan, James Coughlan, Ronan O’Gara, Mick O’Driscoll, David Wallace and John Hayes.
Greencore Munster Rugby Academy players Calvin Nash, Liam O’Connor and Fineen Wycherley have been nominated for the John McCarthy award for Academy Player of the Year. In total, eleven diverse categories will be honoured in celebrating the best of professional and domestic rugby within the province.
IRISH INDEPENDENT MUNSTER RUGBY PLAYER OF THE YEAR NOMINEES:
Previously nominated for Player of the Year in 2010, winner of Young Player of the Year in 2009, and winner of Academy Player of the Year in 2007, Earls is once again nominated after enjoying a standout season.
The 30-year-old has started eight games this campaign, playing on the wing and in the centre, and scored five tries. He scored a brace of tries on his seasonal debut against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium, and has scored successively in his last three appearances.
The flying winger also produced a man-of-the-match performance against Castres Olympique at Thomond Park in January, while his impressive form continued during the 2018 Six Nations. Shining on the international stage, Earls was ever-present on the Ireland flanks, playing a pivotal role in his first Grand Slam success.
Jean Kleyn has earned his first Player of the Year nomination in his second season at Munster, following an outstanding campaign to date that has seen the lock become a fixture in the starting XV.
The powerful 24-year-old has started 20 of the province’s 27 games and made one appearance off the bench so far this year. Having missed the second half of last season through injury, Kleyn started the year in brilliant form with four tries in the opening three games.
He has started Munster’s last five games in Europe and scored a try away to Racing 92 in January’s pool defeat in Paris. His partnership with Billy Holland in the second row has been key as Munster have earned a place in the Champions Cup semi-finals and a home semi-final qualifier in the GUINNESS PRO14.
Rory Scannell has been in sparkling form yet again this season with the centre consistently producing excellent performances for the province. It is his second nomination for Player of the Year having almost completed a clean sweep at the 2016 Awards when he became the first Munsterman to win both the Greencore Academy Player of the Year award and the Young Player of the Year award in the same season.
Having earned his first three Ireland caps on last summer’s tour of the USA and Japan, Scannell has missed just three of Munster’s 27 games so far this season. Incredibly, the centre has played every single minute of Munster’s seven Champions Cup matches to date this year.
Since establishing himself as first choice while an Academy player in 2015, the clever midfielder has become a firm favourite among Munster supporters.
There are a very limited number of places left for the event, the package for which is listed below:
– Pre-event drinks reception sponsored by Diageo
– Three-course meal served directly to your table
– Two bottles of wine per table of 10
– A raffle to win a variety of Munster Rugby prizes, with all proceeds going to the Irish Heart Foundation
– Two Munster Rugby players will be present on each table of 10
– Cost: €;65 per person or €;650 for private table of 10
To book your places at this year’s Munster Rugby Awards, please contact Craig Power on 085 2540516 or firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.