WORCESTER Warriors’ hooker Joe Taufete’e has been shortlisted for the prestigious World Rugby Awards Men’s 15s Player of the Year award.

Taufete’e has enjoyed a successful and record-breaking year with USA having smashed the record for most tries by a front row forward in international rugby.

Taufete’e surpassed the previous record held by former Ireland Keith Wood 15 – which had stood for 14 years when he crossed for a hat-trick against Uruguay in March. Taufete’e broke the record in just 21 Tests, almost a third of the number of Tests that Wood played.

Taufete’e ended the Americas Rugby Championship as the top try scorer with six and was a key member of the Eagles’ squad in the Rugby World Cup where he started all four matches in Japan.

"It means a lot to me due to all the sacrifices I’ve have had to make whether that’s leaving the club or my family behind," Taufete'e said.

"This shows that the sacrifices paid off.

"I heard about it last week and had to keep it confidential until World Rugby announced it.

"This morning I got messages from family  and friends from back home who are buzzing about the news."

The shortlist for the Men’s 15s award, which will be presented at the World Rugby Awards in Tokyo on Sunday also includes Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa), Tom Curry (England), Alun Wyn Jones (Wales), Cheslin Kolbe (South Africa) and Ardie Savea (New Zealand).

"It's amazing," Taufete'e continued. 

"Just to be talked about with those guys is a huge accomplishment alone and being at the World Cup too playing against the top guys from France, Argenitna, Tonga and especially England."

The Men’s 15 shortlist was selected by a star-studded World Rugby Awards panel comprised of former Rugby World Cup winners Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi and Melodie Robinson, alongside Fiona Coghlan, Brian O’Driscoll, Fabien Galthié, Agustín Pichot and Seilala Mapusua.

“The World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year awards are the ultimate accolade for Test players and this year there have been an exceptional number of outstanding candidates,” said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.

“I would like to congratulate all 11 players who, deservingly, have been nominated for this year’s award.”

Previous winners of the Men’s 15s award include Wood (2001), Galthie (2002), Jonny Wilkinson (2003), Dan Carter (2005 and 2015), Bryan Habana (2007), McCaw (209 and 2010) and Johnny Sexton (2018).