Dual code star Maddison Levi is the only Australia international to feature in the 2023 World Rugby Awards, shortlisted for the World Sevens Player of the Year prize.
The gifted 21-year-old Queenslander, who’s also dazzled in the past for Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW, has been rewarded for smashing the record number of tries in an international sevens season with her 57 scores in seven legs of the 2022-23 World Series.
The Gold Coast flyer is joined on the shortlist by Michaela Blyde and Tyla Nathan-Wong, luminaries with this year’s all-conquering New Zealand women’s team, as well as Fiji’s Reapi Ulunisau.
It’s the second year in a row Levi has been nominated, and she’ll be hoping to follow her Australia teammate and captain Charlotte Caslick, who won the award last year and has, surprisingly, not been shortlisted again.
It’s a reward for her amazing campaign in which the blistering speed of a brilliant natural athlete has been constantly in evidence.
Levi, whose younger sister Teagan has also been making an impact in the World Cup winners’ squad, broke the record of 52 tries in a worldf series season set by New Zealand great Portia Woodman in 2014-15.
She scored her 57 tries across 42 matches, notching up eight hat-tricks – three against the USA, two against France, two against Spain and one against Brazil.
In the battle to be voted Men’s 15s Player of the Year, World Cup finalists Eben Etzebeth, of South Africa, and Ardie Savea, of New Zealand, have both been shortlsted, along with the sensational French captain Antoine Dupont, the 2021 winner, and Ireland’s New Zealand-born centre Bundee Aki.
Fiji coach Simon Raiwalui has been recognised in the Men’s Coach of the Year section, nominated along with Ireland’s Andy Farrell, New Zealand’s Ian Foster and South Africa’s Jacques Nienaber.
The awards will be announced at a ceremony at Opera Garnier in Paris on Sunday after the men’s World Cup final, but the main women’s 15s prizes won’t be made until after the current WXV series.
Other award shortlists:
Men’s Sevens Player of the Year: Leroy Carter (New Zealand), Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina), Marcos Moneta (Argentina), Akuila Rokolisoa (New Zealand).
Men’s Try of the Year: Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland v England, 4 February), Damian Penaud (France v Ireland, 11 February), Hugo Keenan (Ireland v France, 11 February), Vinaya Habosi (Fiji v Georgia, 1 October).
Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year: Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France), Manie Libbok (South Africa), Mark Telea (New Zealand), Tamaiti Williams (New Zealand).