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Page last updated at 06:26 GMT, Thursday, 25 September 2008 07:26 UK

Gatland hails duo's nominations

Warren Gatland
Warren Gatland delighted with the double nomination

Warren Gatland has hailed the nominations of Shane Williams and Ryan Jones on the International Rugby Board player of the year award shortlist.

The Wales coach believes it is another major accolade for his 2008 Grand Slam-winning squad.

"To have one player from your squad nominated for an award like this would be a proud moment," said Gatland.

"But the fact both are in contention should be looked on as a testament to the hard work of the whole squad."

Williams and Jones have made a short list of five players which also includes Scotland scrum-half Mike Blair, New Zealand outside-half Dan Carter and Italy captain Sergio Parisse.

"Both have individual qualities, Shane Williams has been in sparkling form and not only lit up the Six Nations but also shone on our tour to South Africa in the summer," added Gatland.

"Ryan returned from injury just before the Six Nations to lead from the front and the leadership role he fulfils has been integral to our achievements and should not be underestimated.

"But to have two players recognised in the top five of the world game is the highest accolade and the nation, together with all of the Wales coaches and national squad, should take great pride in that fact."

The IRB Player of the Year award winner will be announced at the IRB Awards in London on 23 November.

see also
Wales duo nominated for IRB award
24 Sep 08 |  Rugby Union

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