WHERE DO YOU even start?
A memorable, historic year for Irish rugby means there are so many players who enjoyed outstanding seasons in green, and indeed for their provinces, making this award as competitive as it has been for quite some time.
Who was your best player of the year? Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO
As we all know, Joe Schmidt side won all but one of their 12 Test matches in 2018, claiming Grand Slam glory, a series win in Australia and then a November clean sweep, which included that indelible first home defeat of the All Blacks.
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Think back to those famous wins along the way; in Paris, in Twickenham, in Sydney and in Dublin and big performances, and big moments, stand out, not least Johnny Sexton’s drop-goal, CJ Stander’s try and Peter O’Mahony’s heroics against the Kiwis.
In fact, every one of the players entrusted by Schmidt over the course of the last 12 months stood up and make an impact, from Jordan Larmour, to James Ryan, to Dan Leavy, to Josh van der Flier, to Bundee Aki.
And then there was Jacob Stockdale’s try-scoring, record-breaking exploits during the Six Nations, and that virtuoso score against the All Blacks which sent the Aviva Stadium into a state of delirium.
Or what of Larmour, who was nominated for the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year award, after enjoying a brilliant maiden season at international level, memorably opening his account with a dazzling hat-trick against Italy in Chicago.
It is hard, however, to look past Sexton, recently crowned World Rugby Player of the Year, becoming just the second Irishman to win the accolade after Keith Wood.
Sexton’s contributions for both Ireland and Leinster, as Leo Cullen’s side completed a European and Pro14 double last season, have been well documented with the out-half’s influence as strong as ever.
Who was your best Irish player of the year, and why? Let us know below.