Barre leads New Zealand dom­i­nance of awards

The Myanmar Times - - Sport -

FLY-HALF Beau­den Bar­rett led a hat-trick of ti­tles for world cham­pi­ons New Zealand at the World Rugby awards on Novem­ber 13 as he col­lected Player of the Year.

The 25-year-old, who has filled the huge vac­uum left by the in­ter­na­tional re­tire­ment of Dan Carter with aplomb, was joined on the podium by Steve Hansen, who won Coach of the Year, and the record-break­ing All Blacks as Team of the Year.

Bar­rett and Hansen, who scooped the coach­ing award for the fourth time in five sea­son, were cen­tral fig­ures as New Zealand set a world record of 18 suc­ces­sive Test wins be­fore be­ing beaten by Ire­land just over a week ago.

Both Bar­rett and Hansen re­layed their best wishes to those back home after at least two peo­ple were killed fol­low­ing a pow­er­ful earth­quake on Novem­ber 13 on New Zealand’s South Is­land.

“When some­thing like that hap­pens, it put things into per­spec­tive and rugby is just a game. We send them our love and wishes,” said Hansen.

There was suc­cess for Eng­land as well, with cap­tain Sarah Hunter win­ning the Women’s Player of the Year while Eng­land lock Maro Itoje – who was also nom­i­nated for best player – won break­through player of the year for his storm­ing dis­plays in their Six Na­tions Grand Slam cam­paign and the his­toric 3-0 white­wash of Aus­tralia.

On the club front, the 22-year-old was equally suc­cess­ful as Sara­cens swept the Premier­ship ti­tle and the Euro­pean Cham­pi­ons Cup to boot.

Bar­rett, 25, has been in scin­til­lat­ing form for the All Blacks, scor­ing seven tries as they set the record for con­sec­u­tive Test wins and eased to the Rugby Cham­pi­onship ti­tle.

He is the fifth suc­ces­sive All Black to re­ceive the pres­ti­gious award, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of Carter (2012 and 2015), Kieran Read (2013) and Brodie Re­tal­lick (2014).

Hunter, capped 83 times and a World Cup win­ner in 2014, has played in ev­ery Test for her coun­try this year as they fin­ished sec­ond to France in the Six Na­tions – she beat French star Gaelle Mig­not and Fiao’o Fa’amausili of New Zealand to the award.

Aus­tralia’s suc­cess in the women’s sevens tour­na­ment at the Olympics after the sport made an eye-catch­ing re­turn to the qua­dren­nial sport­ing ex­trav­a­ganza – earned re­ward for Char­lotte Caslick, who was named World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.

Although Fiji won the men’s gold medal the in­di­vid­ual award went to South Africa’s Se­abelo Se­natla.

World Rugby Chair­man Bill Beau­mont – who re­placed French­man Ber­anrd La­pas­set after the French­man re­tired from the post this year – said it had been a mem­o­rable year for the sport.

“We have wit­nessed an ex­cep­tional 2016 on and off the field fea­tur­ing a game-chang­ing re­turn to the Olympic Games after 92 years, com­pelling men’s and women’s World Rugby Sevens Se­ries and of course a cap­ti­vat­ing year of fif­teens Tests and cham­pi­onships,” said the for­mer Eng­land cap­tain. –

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