Two New Zealanders on World Rugby women's Player of the Year shortlist

Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje shortlisted for World Rugby Player of the Year

New South Wales' very own Israel Folau is in the running for World Rugby's Men's Player of the Year.

The 25-year-old scored five tries at the recent Women's Rugby World Cup that included a stunning solo effort in the final against New Zealand.

The panel also chose a shortlist for the Women's Player of the Year, which comprised of New Zealanders Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman, France duo Romane Menager and Safi N'Diaye, and England's Lydia Thompson.

Compatriot Richie McCaw is the only player to win the award in successive years, which he did in 2009 and 2010.

Folau is one of five world-class players on the shortlist for the prestigious title with the victor to be announced at the World Rugby Awards ceremony at the Salle des Etoiles in Monte Carlo on 26 November.

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Following a stellar year for global rugby, the shortlists for the ultimate accolade feature players who have excited and inspired fans around the world with their feats in 2017. "It's a huge surprise and I'm humbled to be nominated".

The Breakthrough Player of the Year will be contested by three players - Argentina's Emiliano Boffelli, New Zealand winger Rieko Ioane and France centre Damian Penaud.

England playmaker Farrell, nominated for the second consecutive year, claimed the European Player of the Year award earlier this year after guiding Saracens to a second straight Champions Cup title.

Free-scoring fullback Folau recorded 12 tries for the Wallabies in 10 Tests, failing to cross the line in only two matches.

The other nominees for the top accolade are Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), Owen Farrell (England and the British & Irish Lions), Rieko Ioane (New Zealand) and Maro Itoje (England and the British & Irish Lions).

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