Australia’s Charlotte Caslick, Sarah Goss of New Zealand, fellow Kiwi Portia Woodman and Russian Nadezhda Kudinova are the four nominees for Women’s Sevens Player of the Year, World Rugby have announced.
Woodman became the first woman and only the fifth player in the Series’ history to pass the half-century mark in terms of tries, notching an incredible 52 as her nation went on to secure the overall title.
Kiwi captain Goss scored a vital try in the dying embers of their clash with rivals Australia in Dubai, which was integral to her side claiming their fourth consecutive Series crown in what was a successful year for New Zealand.
Australian Caslick is the youngest nominee on the list at just 20 years of age and she was her country’s star performer throughout the competition.
They managed to reach four finals and claimed the London Sevens Series title with a thrilling victory over Canada, coming from 17-5 down to seal a dramatic win.
There is also a strong case for Kudinova to be crowned Player of the Year as her haul of 149 points was among the season’s top five totals, although it couldn’t inspire her nation to any higher than seventh in the final standings.
The winner will be announced at the glittering World Rugby Awards dinner at Battersea Evolution in London on November 1, the day after the Rugby World Cup final takes place at Twickenham.
The Women’s Series itself enjoyed unprecedented success this year ahead of rugby sevens’ debut on the Olympic programme at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.
“Women’s rugby sevens has seen amazing development in recent years and is one of the fastest growing team sports in the world,” World Rugby chairman Bernard Lapasset said.
“The Women’s Sevens World Series has gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2012 and the quality of rugby on show is seriously impressive.
“These four players have been a vital part of that.
“They have shown the athleticism, skill, power, discipline and consistency required to excel at the highest level and they should all be congratulated, regardless of the judges’ final decision.
“With sevens’ debut at the Olympic Games happening in Rio de Janeiro next year, these are exciting times for the sport and these players will no doubt all be striving for those elusive medals in 2016.”
May 2015: England secure Team GB quota for Rio 2016 as Canada claim Amsterdam Sevens title
May 2015: Canada and Australia seal women's rugby sevens Olympic qualification as United States light up World Series
May 2015: New Zealand's rugby sevens women qualify for Rio 2016 despite shock loss to Spain
April 2015: New Zealand close in on Rio 2016 after fourth straight World Rugby Women's Sevens Series win
April 2015: Australia, Canada and New Zealand progress at World Rugby Women's Sevens with unbeaten records