England captain Tom Mitchell among 7s player of the year nominees
England 7s captains Tom Mitchell is nominated for the Sevens player of the year award
England 7s captain Tom Mitchell has been named among the nominees for the IRB Sevens player of the year award ahead of the final round of the HSCB Sevens World Series.
Handed the England captaincy by new head coach Simon Amor, the first recipient of the award as a player in 2004, Mitchell tops the point-scoring chart in the current series with 310 points, which includes 27 tries—only three players have scored more tries in this Series.
Mitchell is in excellent company on the shortlist with last year’s recipient Tim Mikkelson of New Zealand, South Africa captain Kyle Brown and Fiji star Samisoni Viriviri.
The nominees were selected by the management teams of the 15 core sides who compete at all nine rounds of the World Series.
“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,” said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
“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.”
While the other nominees are at the top of, or close to the top of, the scoring charts, South Africa captain Brown has led the Blitzbokke to Cup wins in Port Elizabeth and Las Vegas this season as well as six top-four finishes to power his side to second in the World Series standings behind the All Blacks.
Viriviri has defied his age to lead the try-scoring chart in the current World Series with 48 from the first eight rounds, averaging a try a game, which includes running in eight in the last round in Glasgow, and the 38-year-old will be expected to light up Twickenham this weekend.
Versatile Mikkelson has again excelled for the reigning champions New Zealand as they all but wrapped up another World Series title with one round remaining after back-to-back Cup titles in Hong Kong and Glasgow, and his fitness has seen him rack up 31 tries, second only to Viriviri.
The recipient of the first IRB award of the year will be announced following the London Sevens at Twickenham this weekend.
IRB Sevens Player of the Year – Previous winners:
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