The shortlist of the Breakthrough Player of the Tournament at the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championships has been named.
The four man shortlist consists of two players from each of the finalists, England and France. England wing Gabriel Ibitoye makes the shortlist of the second year in a row and he is joined by fellow winger Jordan Olowofela, who can also play at outside centre and full back.
France’s Romain Ntamack, son of legendary winger Emile, is also shortlisted, he has appeared at outside half and inside centre in the tournament so far. His seventeen-year-old teammate and bulldozing back-rower Jordan Joseph is also shortlisted, and given his age and performances to date is surely the favourite to take home the award.
Ntamack, Ibitoye, and Olowofela have scored three tries each, while Joseph has scored two. Ntamack has meanwhile added ten points with his boot.
Olowfela leads the tournament in terms of clean breaks having made 9, with Joseph just behind on 8, Ntamack and Olowofela each have six. Perhaps the most impressive stat of all though is that of Joseph’s offloads, he leads the tournament with 11, while Olowofela has four.
Were either Joseph or Ntamack to win they would be the first Frenchmen ever to win the award, which last year was won by South Africa’s Juarno Augustus. Augustus was, incredibly, the third number 8 in a row to win the award, news that bodes well for Joseph. The last back to win the award was South African fly half Handre Pollard in 2014. Olowofela or Ibitoye would be the third Englishman to win the award, following James Chisholm in 2015 and George Ford in 2011.
England and France meet in the 2018 World Rugby U20 Championship final at 6pm (BST) on Sunday in Beziers, and the match will be shown live on ITV 4.
To vote for Gabriel Ibitoye, Jordan Joseph, Romain Ntamack, or Jordan Olowofela for 2018 Breakthrough Player of the Tournament, please click the following link through to the World Rugby website voting panel: https://www.worldrugby.org/u20/breakthrough
2018 World Rugby U20 Championship Finals Day Fixtures (All times BST), Sunday 17th June:
Ireland v Japan – 11th Place Play Off – 10am, Beziers
Scotland v Georgia – 9th Place Play Off – 12.30pm, Beziers
Argentina v Australia – 5th Place Play Off – 1pm, Beziers
Wales v Italy – 7th Place Play Off – 3pm, Beziers
South Africa v New Zealand – 3rd Place Play Off – 3.30pm, Beziers
England v France – Final – 6pm, Beziers