It’s hard to argue with the fact that Richie McCaw is a pretty decent player, and has been for some time as the All Blacks captain, but has he been the best in the world in 2009?
McCaw has actually been injured for a large part of the season, and hasn’t looked his best in several misfiring New Zealand performances – particularly in the Tri-Nations, when South Africa beat them three times in a row.
The fact that the IRB Player of the Year Award has just been given to McCaw for the second time has caused some consternation among the rugby public, particularly in Ireland. There has been more than one suggestion that Brian O’Driscoll was a more worthy candidate after an incredible season.
An Irish Grand Slam, a first-ever Heineken Cup, a talismanic performance for the Lions, and now a victory over the World Champions – not a bad effort, and O’Driscoll has been arguably the best player on the pitch every time he steps onto it.
The other nominees on the shortlist were O’Driscoll, Fourie du Preez, Matt Giteau, Tom Croft, Jamie Heaslip and Francois Steyn – du Preez might also feel a little aggrieved, but O’Driscoll is the standout candidate on this list.
Who do you think should have won the award?