Beauden Barrett could follow New Zealand great Richie McCaw in winning World Rugby's player of the year award two years in a row after the All Blacks fly-half was shortlisted for the 2017 prize on Monday.
The fly-half, given the award in 2016, is looking to emulate flanker McCaw's feat of 2009 and 2010, after starring for the All Blacks in their drawn Test series with the British and Irish Lions, scoring 41 points.
Barrett, 26, is joined on a five-strong list of nominees by New Zealand team-mate Rieko Ioane, the England and Lions duo of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, as well as Australia's Israel Folau.
A new panel featuring Argentina great Agustin Pichot, France's Fabien Galthie, Ireland's Brian O'Driscoll and former England coach Clive Woodward will take on board the views of supporters, international captains, coaches and the media before making their decision, with the winner announced at World Rugby's annual awards dinner in Monaco on November 26.
"There have been numerous highlights from a fascinating year of international rugby that comprised an outstanding Women's Rugby World Cup, a compelling British and Irish Lions tour, Six Nations and The Rugby Championship competitions and a superb programme of Test rugby," said World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont.
"I am sure there will be lots of debate over the coming weeks," the former England and Lions captain added.
"I'd like to thank the panel for their expert consideration and look forward to the winners being announced at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco."
New Zealand's Portia Woodman and Kelly Brazier, two of the stars of the Black Ferns' World Cup triumph in Ireland in August, are among the nominees for the women's player of the year award along with France's Romane Menager and Safi N'Diaye.
England's Lydia Thompson completes the shortlist.