England skipper Packer impressed with her tough tackling from the back row but is also women’s Test rugby’s top try-scorer this year with 11, while electric wing Dow has crossed the whitewash six times in 2023, including notching four in one Six Nations game against Italy en route to the grand slam.
Their competition for the award comes in the form of New Zealand fly half Ruahei Demant and France centre Gabrielle Vernier. Dement is aiming to become the first woman to claim the accolade more than once, having won the award in 2022, while Vernier scored five tries during the Six Nations and was named Player of the Championship.
World Rugby also announced the shortlists for the Women’s Breakthrough Player of the Year and International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year awards, with the nominees coming ahead of the final round of matches in the inaugural WXV 1 competition in New Zealand this weekend.
The winners will be celebrated during an awards presentation in Auckland after the final whistle of the hotly-anticipated England v New Zealand match on Saturday. The rest of the World Rugby Awards were presented in a ceremony in Paris after the men’s World Cup final last weekend but World Rugby opted to leave these women’s awards until the WXV was almost completed.
A fan vote will decide the try of the year, while the World Rugby Women’s 15s Dream Team of the Year will also be revealed on Saturday
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “The past year has seen some momentous steps forward for the women’s game with more full-time contracts, record-breaking crowds, the announcement of the first-ever dedicated international release window and, of course, the inaugural WXV competition which has seen the very best women’s teams competing across three levels and in three regions around the globe.
“A huge congratulations and thank you to all those nominated today who are not only inspiring fans and players on the field with their tenacious performances and infectious spirit but outside of the game with the incredible work they carry out in their communities.”
REMAINING WORLD RUGBY AWARDS 2023 | NOMINEES
World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Year
Ruahei Demant (New Zealand)
Abby Dow (England)
Marlie Packer (England)
Gabrielle Vernier (France)
World Rugby Women’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year
Carla Arbez (France)
Francesca McGhie (Scotland)
Mererangi Paul (New Zealand)
Katelyn Vahaakolo (New Zealand)
International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year
Sofia Stefan (Italy v Ireland on 15 April)
Charlotte Escudero (France v Wales on 23 April)
Zoe Aldcroft (England v France on 29 April)
Mererangi Paul (New Zealand v Canada on 8 July)