Rising Irish rugby star nominated for top underage award
The performance of the Irish U20 side at the Junior Rugby World Cup has been very heartening during a difficult month for Irish sport and now one of the squad has been nominated for the top underage award in the game.
With the small matter of the Euros dominating the sporting news agenda, the performance of the Irish Under 20 rugby squad has not gotten the coverage it deserved.
Down in South Africa the Wolfpuppies beat the hosts South Africa, and arch-rivals England, and they will France tomorrow in a bid to claim fifth place. Whatever happens in that game, it will be Ireland’s best ever showing at a Junior World Cup.
While their excellence may have slipped a little under the radar, the International Rugby Board have been paying attention, and Ireland's JJ Hanrahan has been nominated for the prestigious Junior Player of the Year award.
The Kerry native has been a leading light for Ireland for a while now, usually at centre, but he moved into number 10 for this tournament and has dictated the play superbly. He’s a lethal goal kicker as well, and he is still only 19.
It won’t be easy for the Munster man to win, as he is up against two Springboks for the prize. Jan Serfontein is a centre, described as the next Brian O’Driscoll by some, and flanker Shaun Adendorff.
With South Africa at home, and into Friday’s final against New Zealand, they will have more exposure but Hanrahan has beaten the Boks once this summer, maybe he can do it again.
You can help him too by going to this Facebook page and voting. The public vote will be considered along with that of an expert panel.
With previous winners like Jerome Kaino and Julian Savea and, well, Gavin Henson, Hanrahan would be in (mostly) great company if he can pull this off.