World Rugby Sevens Players of the Year 2019 nominees announced

World Rugby Sevens Players of the Year 2019 nominees announced

6 September, 2019


World Rugby has revealed the shortlists for the Men’s and Women’s Sevens Players of
the Year 2019 awards in association with HSBC, which will be presented at the
World Rugby Awards at The Prince Park Tower in Tokyo, Japan, on 3 November.

A first-time winner of each award is guaranteed, although some of the nominees
are no strangers to being nominated for the prestigious accolade with New
Zealand captain Sarah Hirini and Fiji playmaker Jerry Tuwai nominated for the
fourth and third times respectively. New Zealand’s Ruby Tui is the only other
player on the two shortlists with a previous nomination, back in 2017.

The nominees for the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year 2019 in
association with HSBC are: Sarah Hirini (New Zealand), Tyla Nathan-Wong (New
Zealand) and Ruby Tui (New Zealand).


The nominees for the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year 2019 in
association with HSBC are: Folau Niua (USA), Stephen Tomasin (USA) and Jerry
Tuwai (Fiji).


Both shortlists were selected by a mix of votes cast by players (30 per cent)
and an expert panel (70 per cent) featuring former sevens stars Humphrey
Kayange, Jen Kish, Tiana Penitani, Karl Tenana, Danielle Waterman and Marika



The inspirational captain of the Black Ferns Sevens for the last five years,
Sarah Hirini led her team to Cup titles in Glendale, Dubai and Sydney en route
to winning a fifth HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in 2019. The season
also saw New Zealand equal their record of 37 wins in a row on the series and
the 26-year-old become the first female to play in 200 matches on the global
circuit. Nominated for the fourth time in six years, Hirini has a tireless work
ethic which, combined with dogged defence and vision, enables her to unlock
defence for herself – as her 17 tries in 2019 shows – and others.


The top points scorer on the 2019 series with 207, Tyla Nathan-Wong is a vital
piece in the success story that is the Black Ferns Sevens. As playmaker, the
25-year-old is blessed with the vision, the skill set and pace to give defending
teams plenty of headaches as she showed with her two HSBC Player of the Final
accolades in Dubai – scoring two tries against Canada – and Langford.
Nathan-Wong may have ended the year as the top goal kicker with 79, but she
also crossed for 11 tries as New Zealand showed their dominance to claim a
fifth series crown.


A powerful runner and tireless worker at the breakdown, Ruby Tui is one of the
first names down on coach Allan Bunting’s team sheet and someone who never
gives less than 100 per cent for the Black Ferns Sevens’ cause. The
27-year-old, like her fellow nominees, was named in the HSBC Dream Team for the
2019 series, having started every match and scored 15 tries in their
title-winning season. A New Zealand team without Tui in it is not as scary a
prospect for teams, not only for her physicality but the way she inspires
others around her with her performances.



A mainstay of the USA team, Folau Niua became his country’s most-capped player
in the history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series with his 63rd tournament
in Sydney in February. The 34-year-old playmaker, who can kick off both feet,
was a key factor in the USA’s dominant restart that was at the heart of their
most successful season ever, hitting an all-time high of 45 per cent. Niua
featured in the USA’s successful title defence in Las Vegas and was named in
the HSBC Dream Team for the 2019 series.


The youngest of all six nominees at 24, Tomasin is an equally important cog in
the USA Sevens team that were the only ones to reach the Cup semi-finals of all
10 events on the 2019 series. A powerful player with plenty of pace, Tomasin is
also someone who thrives on pressure situations as he showed with his
match-winning try with the last play against Australia at Twickenham. He scored
29 tries last season, a figure bettered only in the USA squad by speedster
Carlin Isles.


Fijian playmaker Jerry Tuwai earns a nomination for the third year running
after once again carving open defences at will with his vision and step, making
the most of his diminutive frame to dart through gaps to create opportunities
for himself or those around him. He may no longer have the captain’s armband
but he is still the heartbeat of the Fijian side, helping them win titles in
Cape Town, Hamilton, Hong Kong, London and Paris and a third series title for
himself. The 30-year-old also featured in the HSBC Dream Team for the third year
in a row.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "These
players are excellent role models for our sport and embody the values and
attributes that rugby sevens stands for, both on and off the field of play.

"The skill and character that they demonstrate has undoubtedly played a
part in the ongoing success story of rugby sevens. Last season we saw new
records set from a performance perspective, but also in terms of fan engagement
with more than 198 million views across our video content which we hope will
inspire even more people to take up playing or supporting rugby sevens."

These awards are two of 12 categories of awards, including the World Rugby
Men’s and Women’s 15s Players of the Year, World Rugby Team of the Year, World
Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and Award for Character.

For more details on the panel members for each of the World Rugby Awards, visit

For more information on the World Rugby Awards, visit

Previous World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year
award winners:

2018 – Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
2017 – Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)

2016 – Charlotte Caslick (Australia)

2015 – Portia Woodman (New Zealand)

2014 – Emilee Cherry (Australia)

2013 – Kayla McAlister (New Zealand)

Previous World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year
award winners:

2018 – Perry Baker (USA)
2017 – Perry Baker (USA)
2016 – Seabelo Senatla (South Africa)

2015 – Werner Kok (South Africa)

2014 – Samisoni Viriviri (Fiji)

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)