|Sod off, the trophy's mine.|
Yes, it's the that time of year where the powers that be at the International Rugby Board have announced the runners and riders for this year's IRB Player of the Year.
Joining reigning Player of the Year, New Zealand skipper Richie McCaw, on the shortlist are team-mate Mils Muliaina, France number eight Imanol Harinordoquy, Australian duo David Pocock and Kurtley Beale and South Africa's Victor Matfield.
It's an interesting, if slightly uninspiring selection. No doubt gap-toothed gypsy and Sky Sports pundit, Stuart Barnes, was salivating into his Cornish pasty when he saw his ultimate commentating wank-fodder, Biarritz and France back-row forward Harinordoquy, in the top six. McCaw's New Zealand team-mate, full-back Muliaina, has enjoyed a good season and starred in the All Blacks side that swept to an impressive clean sweep in this year's Tri-nations. Only a Bledisloe Cup loss to Australia in Hong Kong created an annoying blot on New Zealand's copy book this season. McCaw, along with Dan Carter, was the crucial cog in a well-oiled All Blacks machine.
Wallaby flanker David Pocock has been immense at the breakdown and his inclusion is the one I am most pleased about. The 22-year-old openside flanker has burst onto the international stage and it would be a brilliant achievement if he is the man to dethrone opposite number McCaw. Pocock has arms as wide as Tim Payne's waist, is rumoured to be able to bench press a Ford Mondeo and could probably pluck a plane out the sky if he could be arsed.
His fellow green and gold team-mate, Kurtley Beale, is a full-back brimming with blistering pace - something England found out to their peril a couple of weeks ago. To be honest, I expected Quade Cooper to beat him to the final list. Then again, the Australia fly-half tackles as effectively as an arthritic cat with mild depression, which probably ruled him out.
And then there's Victor Matfield. I have one question: Why?
But who do you think should win, and who would you have liked to have seen on the list? There's only one way to find out. I've created a poll which you can find on the right-hand toolbar. If there's someone you would have voted for but who isn't included, then please feel free to vent your spleen in the comments.
As for me? Well, it's got to be McCaw again, hasn't it?