Croft is joined by British & Irish Lions colleagues Jamie Heaslip and Brian O’Driscoll, Australia’s Matt Giteau, South African duo Francois Steyn and Fourie du Preez, and Richie McCaw of New Zealand on the list of nominations.
The IRB Player of the Year 2009, in association with Emirates Airline will be announced during the final weekend of November Tests, along with this year’s IRB Coach of the Year and IRB Team of the Year.
"The IRB Player of the Year Award is the ultimate accolade for a player and takes into account performances in all internationals played during the year, including the RBS Six Nations, British & Irish Lions Test Series, Tri Nations and the June and November Tests," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.
"The list of past winners includes the iconic names of the decade - Jonny Wilkinson, Schalk Burger, Richie McCaw, Fabien Galthié, Dan Carter, Bryan Habana and Keith Wood have all been worthy recipients of the Award."
The nominees were selected by the IRB Awards independent panel of judges, comprising former internationals Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustin Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga, Paul Wallace and John Eales.