Shane Willimas is amongst a shortlist of six who aye vying to the the official player of the 2010 RBS 6 Nations
The final shortlist for the official RBS Player of the Championship of the 2010 RBS 6 Nations was announced on Wednesday, with a fan's poll to decide the result now open on www.rbs6nations.com.
Williams won the title in 2008 as Wales swept all aside to win the Grand Slam, scoring six tries. This season he scored his 50th try in a Wales jersey and surpassed the great Gareth Edwards' Tournament record with his 19 tries in 33 championship games.
He scored in his first full start for Wales with a try against Italy in the same Six Nations tournament and has since earned 71 caps for Wales and has scored 52 international tries (50 for Wales, 2 for the British and Irish Lions) and 255 points (250 for Wales, 10 for the Lions).
But with France now favourites to lift the trophy on Saturday, four French names dominate the shortlist of six players with Imanol Harinordoquy, Mathieu Bastareaud, Morgan Parra and Thierry Dusautoir all receiving a nod. 2008 RBS Player of the Championship Williams offers a Welsh nomination and Ireland's Tommy Bowe finishes the list of six players competing for the accolade.
A panel of former internationals from all six nations submitted their top three nominations, from which the shortlist of six nominees was compiled. Panelists included BBC Sport pundits Keith Wood, Raphaël Ibañez and Jonathan Davies, RBS RugbyForce supporters Andy Nicol, Ieuan Evans and Jason Leonard, as well as former RBS Ambassador Alessandro Moscardi who ensured an Italian vote was cast. The panel were asked to base their decision on performance, form and achievement throughout this year's Tournament so far.
Despite the French Championship victories of 2006 and 2007, Brian O'Driscoll has taken the trophy home to Dublin in three out of the past four years, proving that RBS Player of the Championship is not always awarded to a member of the winning team. Previous RBS Player of the Championship, Shane Williams went on to win the highly coveted IRB Player of the Year award in the same year (2008), so victory for this year's winner is sure to be a sign of great things to come.
The 2010 RBS Player of the Championship will be decided as a result of a public vote, hosted on www.rbs6nations.com. Voting will continue through the final week of the Championship, and will close after the final round of matches, at Midnight on Monday 22nd March.
Once the votes have been counted and verified, the announcement of the official RBS Player of the Championship will be issued to press during the following week. Opportunities for media access will be advised and confirmed nearer the time.
Nearly 40 players were involved in the first Wales Under 18 training session of the season. WRU National Performance Manager Gethin Watts is excited at the potential shown by the group and expects the Regional Under 18 Championship to hone their skills even further.