Spies lauded by opponents

Pierre Spies is the only South African to be nominated for the International Rugby Players Associations (Irpa) 2006 awards.

Spies has been nominated in the Newcomer of the Year category along with Ireland duo of wing Andrew Trimble and hooker Jerry Flannery, Australia flanker Rocky Elsom and New Zealand lock Jason Eaton.

The 21-year-old had a dramatic impact in the home leg of the Vodacom Tri-Nations and excelled when he returned to the Vodacom Bulls for the latter part of the Absa Currie Cup.

Four all Blacks, namely Daniel Carter, Richie McCaw, Jerry Collins and Carl Hayman have been nominated in the Player of the Year category . Carter was the Irpa and International Rugby Board (IRB) Player of the Year in 2005 and is largely expected to take the award again.

Irish lock Paul O’Connell is the fifth nominee in this category.

According to Irpa rules, players may vote only for players representing countries other than their own.