Image: Britain Rugby Union – Saracens v Leicester Tigers – Aviva Premiership – Allianz Park – 29/10/16 Maro Itoje at the game Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Henry Browne Livepic
LONDON (Reuters) – Maro Itoje capped a stunning breakthrough year when the young England lock forward was included on Monday in a six-man short-list for World Rugby Player of the Year.
The 22-year-old, who made his international debut in February, was joined by Six Nations grand slam-winning team mates Billy Vunipola and Owen Farrell. The trio also helped England to a 3-0 series win in Australia.
All Blacks flyhalf Beauden Barrett, who has moved seamlessly into the No. 10 jersey vacated by Dan Carter, and fellow New Zealander Dane Coles were also on the list.
Ireland forward Jamie Heaslip completes the nominations selected by independent panels featuring former internationals and media. The winner will be announced on Sunday in London.
Itoje, who has been ruled out of the autumn internationals because of a fractured hand, also won the English Premiership and European Champions Cup with his club Saracens.
(Reporting by Martyn Herman, editing by Ed Osmond)
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