Sale Sharks Springbok halfback Faf de Klerk has been named among five players to be nominated for World Rugby Player of the Year, having returned to the international scene against England last June to tremendous success.
De Klerk, 27, returned to the South African fold under new head coach Rassie Erasmus, flaunting marvellous form throughout the Springboks' series success against England in June and finishing with a strong Rugby Championship campaign before returning to Sale last month.
New Zealand duo Beauden Barrett and Reiko Ioane have also been nominated. Barrett is the current holder of the award, having won the title in both 2016 and 2017, looking to achieve a record three consecutive years.
De Klerk's fellow South African Malcolm Marx has also been nominated for his prestigious award, while Ireland's Jonathan Sexton stands as the only Northern Hemisphere nominee.
Should de Klerk be named World Player of the Year on November 25th later this month, he will be the first South African to win the award in over ten years. The last Springbok to win was winger Bryan Habana, who claimed the title in 2007.
De Klerk would also end the All Blacks' six-year hold on the award. 2011 was the last time a player outside of New Zealand won the award when former French captain Thierry Dusautoir claimed the title.
The last Premiership player to be named World Player of the Year was former England fly-half Johnny Wilkinson, who claimed the accolade in 2003 while playing for Newcastle Falcons.