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All Blacks first five-eighth Beauden Barrett and star wing Rieko Ioane join British and Irish Lions and England playmaker Owen Farrell, lock Maro Itoje and Wallabies fullback Israel Folau.
New Zealand's Kelly Brazier and Portia Woodman will contest the women's gong alongside England's Lydia Thompson and French duo Romane Menager and Safi N'Diaye.
Both shortlists were selected by the new World Rugby awards panel which comprises Rugby World Cup winners Richie McCaw, John Smit, George Gregan, Maggie Alphonsi, former England coach Clive Woodward, Brian O'Driscoll, Fabien Galthié and Agustín Pichot.
In a new step in the selection process, fans, international captains, coaches and media will have their say before the panel considers the winners of the prestigious awards.
"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," World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said.
"As ever, the selection of men's and women's 15s player of the year nominees by the panel has excellence as the core consideration and all are not just superb players, but role models.
"I am sure there will be lots of debate over the coming weeks. 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."
Men's Player of the Year:
Beauden Barrett (New Zealand), Owen Farrell (England and British and Irish Lions), Israel Folau (Australia), Rieko Ioane (New Zealand) and Maro Itoje (England and Lions).
Women's Player of the Year:
Kelly Brazier (New Zealand), Romane Menager (France), Safi N'Diaye (France), Lydia Thompson (England) and Portia Woodman (New Zealand).
Previous World Rugby men's player of the year award winners:
2016 - Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
2015 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2014 - Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)
2013 - Kieran Read (New Zealand)
2012 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2011 - Thierry Dusautoir (France)
2010 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2009 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2008 - Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 - Bryan Habana (South Africa)
2006 - Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2005 - Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2004 - Schalk Burger (South Africa)
2003 - Jonny Wilkinson (England)
2002 - Fabien Galthié (France)
2001 - Keith Wood (Ireland)
Previous World Rugby women's player of the year award winners:
2016 - Sarah Hunter (England)
2015 - Kendra Cocksedge (New Zealand)
2014 - Magali Harvey (Canada)
2012 - Michaela Staniford (England)
2011 - Ruth Mitchell
2010 - Carla Hohepa (New Zealand)
2009 - Debby Hodgkinson (Australia)
2008 - Carol Isherwood (England)
2007 - Sarah Corrigan (Australia)
2006 - Maggie Alphonsi (England)
2005 - Farah Palmer (New Zealand)
2004 - Donna Kennedy (Scotland)
2003 - Kathy Flores (USA)
2002 - Monique Hirovanaa (New Zealand)
2001 - Shelley Rae (England)