World Rugby have just released their Coach of the Year and Team of the Year nominees.
Four countries have been selected for the Team of the Year accolade – Japan, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia. The Coach of the Year will also be chosen from one of these four countries, with Steve Hansen (New Zealand), Michael Cheika (Australia), Daniel Hourcade (Argentina) and Eddie Jones (Japan) making up the nominees for the award.
According to rugbyworldcup.com, ‘an independent panel, comprising Australia’s RWC 1999-winning captain John Eales (chairman), former Italy and South Africa coach Nick Mallett, former Argentina captain Agustín Pichot, Scott Hastings and his fellow Scot John Jeffrey, a World Rugby Council Member,’ have selected the nominees who will be awarded their respective accolades a day after the World Cup final during a ceremony at Battersea Evolution, London.
Steve Hansen and his All Blacks team have dominated both of the aforementioned awards in recent years and it would be hard to argue against a similar outcome this time around should New Zealand pull off a win against Australia in the final, and in doing so becoming the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups.
Rod Macqueen and Australia were the inaugural winners of both awards back in 2001, the Wallabies have failed to pick up this accolade since then, however.
Both the COTY and TOTY awards have gone to the All Blacks for the past five years.
Watch the coaches in action below.
Rob Lyons, Pundit Arena