All Blacks fly­half Beau­den Bar­rett voted Rugby World Player of the Year

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

New Zealand fly­half Beau­den Bar­rett has been voted World Player of the Year as the world cham­pion All Blacks swept the ma­jor awards at the end of a record-break­ing rugby sea­son.

Bar­rett beat team­mate Dane Coles, England’s Maro Itoje, Billy Vu­nipola and Owen Far­rell and Ire­land’s Jamie Heaslip to the sport’s high­est in­di­vid­ual hon­our.

New Zealand won Team of the Year after post­ing a world-record 18 con­sec­u­tive test wins be­fore los­ing to Ire­land in Chicago last week. The All Blacks beat England and Olympic sevens gold medal­ists Fiji to that award. All Blacks coach Steve Hansen was voted Coach of the Year for the fourth time, beat­ing England’s Aus­tralian coach Eddie Jones and Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan.

Bar­rett es­tab­lished him­self as the All Blacks’ first-choice fly­half this sea­son after tak­ing over the No. 10 jersey from the pre­vi­ous win­ner of the Player of the Year award, Dan Carter, who is now play­ing club rugby in France. All Blacks have won the top award in each of the last five years - Carter twice and Bar­rett, Kieran Read and Brodie Re­tal­lick on one oc­ca­sion each.

Bar­rett quickly made a mark as one of the most skil­ful and in­ven­tive fly­halves in world rugby, play­ing a ma­jor role in the devel­op­ment of New Zealand’s at­tack­ing game. Bar­rett’s goal­kick­ing has been sub­par in re­cent matches but he re­mains a key mem­ber of the All Blacks lineup.

He started the 2016 sea­son be­hind Aaron Cru­den in New Zealand’s peck­ing or­der at fly­half but took over start­ing role after out­stand­ing per­for­mances off the bench against Wales in June and has started at No. 10 in the All Blacks’ last nine tests.

Coles has also been a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to New Zealand’s re­cent suc­cesses, prov­ing him­self one of the most mo­bile and skil­ful for­wards in world rugby as well as a strong per­former in the tight.

Far­rell was the pivot of the England team which won the Six Na­tions Cham­pi­onship this sea­son and beat the Wal­la­bies in a three­test se­ries in Aus­tralia for the first time ever. Vu­nipola has also been a key mem­ber of that team, cur­rently un­beaten since former Aus­tralia coach Jones took over fol­low­ing England’s group-stage exit at last year’s World Cup. Itoje has been out­stand­ing since mak­ing his England de­but against Italy in March.

England’s Sarah Hunter was voted Women’s Player of the Year, and Aus­tralia’s Olympic gold medal­list Char­lotte Caslick was named Women’s Sevens Player of the Year. South Africa’s Se­abelo Se­natla was the men’s Sevens Player of the Year.

A try by Ire­land back­rower Jamie Heaslip against France was voted Try of the Year.

In this Au­gust 19, 2016 file photo, New Zealand’s Beau­den Bar­rett prac­tices his kick­ing Photo: AP

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