The All Blacks' two most capped players Richie McCaw and Mils Muliaina are among six nominees for the International Rugby Board player of the year award which will be announced on December the 1st along with the coach of the year and team of the year winners.
The shortlist is dominated by southern hemisphere players with French number eight Imanol Harinordoquy the only European to make the list.
The New Zealand captain McCaw is bidding for an unprecedented third IRB award, having won it last year and in 2006.
The young Australian duo of fullback Kurtley Beale and flanker David Pocock are also in contention, as is South African lock and Springbok test record-holder Victor Matfield.
The six names were put forward by an independent panel chaired by former Australia captain John Eales.