Leinster and Ireland flanker Josh van der Flier and captain Johnny Sexton have both been nominated for the prestigious World Rugby Player of the Year award after both Leinster players were named on the shortlist of four announced this week.

It caps a remarkable 12 months for van der Flier who has already been awarded the European Player of the Year, the Leinster Rugby Players’ Player of the Year, the Rugby Players Ireland Player of the Year and the Rugby Writers of Ireland Player of the Year awards.

In Leinster blue, the Wicklow-man played in 16 games for Leinster last season scoring seven tries, while in the green of Ireland he played in nine games, scoring five tries. He has picked up this season where he left off, with more astonishing performances for club and country.

Van der Flier now has 44 Ireland caps to his name as well as 117 caps for Leinster.

But van der Flier won’t have it all his own way as he competes with Lukhanyo Am (South Africa), Antoine Dupont (France) and of course, Johnny Sexton, at the award ceremony in Monaco.

For his part, 37-year-old Sexton is playing as well as ever.

He has been inspirational as Ireland captain in a first ever tour win down in New Zealand during the summer and has looked at his imperious best again this season for Leinster and Ireland, including leading his side to the win over South Africa two weeks ago.

Of course, this isn’t new territory for Sexton as he is aiming to become the fourth player to win the award multiple times after New Zealand trio Dan Carter (2005, 2012 and 2015), Richie McCaw (2009 and 2010) and Beauden Barrett (2016 and 2017).

Van der Flier would become just the third Irish player to win the prize after Sexton (2018) and Keith Wood (2001).

Previous Leinster nominees include Brian O’Driscoll (2001, 2002 and 2009), Jamie Heaslip, (2009 and 2016) and Gordon D’Arcy (2004).

It was a good day in general for Leinster Rugby as Dan Sheehan was also included in the Breakthrough Star of the Year category.

Sheehan has played 34 times for Leinster, so far, while he has been capped 12 times for Ireland since his debut against Japan in 2021.