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End-of-year series: Irish young gun beats Etzebeth in vote

NEWS: Ireland loose forward Caelan Doris was crowned the 2021 player of the end-of-year series by fans after winning the public vote for the award.


The 23-year-old was Ireland’s dynamo during the end-of-year, starting all three games as Andy Farrell’s men defeated Japan, New Zealand and Argentina.

Doris was one of six players up for the honour, along with France’s Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, England’s Freddie Steward and Marcus Smith, and Springbok Eben Etzebeth.

But his superb form across the series saw him take the top prize ahead of South African lock Etzebeth, with England fullback Steward completing the podium in third.

Doris got 26 percent of the vote, while Etzebeth had 22 percent by the time voting ended.

Doris started the campaign at blindside in the comprehensive 60-5 victory over Japan, making 11 carries for 39 metres and also contributing nine tackles – more than any of his teammates.


His pièce de resistance was the performance in the historic 29-20 victory over the All Blacks as he popped up everywhere to complete 12 tackles, carry for 84 metres and beat two defenders.

He also scored Ireland’s all-important third try after the break, stepping inside and racing through a gap in the wall of black shirts to run the ball in from just outside the New Zealand 22.

In fact, so good was his display at the Aviva Stadium that day, it earned him the Player of the Match award in what was only Ireland’s third-ever win over New Zealand.

Even switching to No.8 in the absence of injured Jack Conan for Ireland’s final series game did not slow him down, rising to the occasion again against Argentina.


Doris scored his second try in as many games as Ireland prevailed 53-7 in Dublin, covering another 58 metres with ball in hand and finishing the game with 11 carries.

All in all, Doris made 36 carries across the end-of-year series – more than any other player – while he also hit a joint-high 99 rucks as his relentless engine drove Ireland forward.

Player of the Series vote:

Caelan Doris (Ireland) – 26%
Eben Etzebeth (South Africa) – 22%
Freddie Steward (England) – 20%
Antoine Dupont (France) – 14%
Marcus Smith (England) – 10%
Romain Ntamack (France) – 8%

Source: @autumnnations

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