All Blacks dom­i­nate World Rugby awards

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Sport Starts Here -

LON­DON — Fly­half Beau­den Bar­rett led a hat-trick of ti­tles for world cham­pi­ons New Zealand at the World Rugby awards on Sun­day 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.

“Words can’t de­scribe this. I re­mem­ber sit­ting on (Dan Carter’s) ta­ble last year,” said Bar­rett. “I’ve re­ally en­joyed the chal­lenge and re­spon­si­bil­ity and be­ing given more starts.”

Both Bar­rett and Hansen also re­layed their best wishes to those back home after at least two peo­ple were killed fol­low­ing a pow­er­ful earth­quake 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 cap­tain Sarah Hunter won the Women’s Player of the Year gong whilst im­pres­sive 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).

He re­ceived the award ahead of five other nom­i­nees — which also in­cluded All Blacks team-mate Dane Coles, England duo Billy Vu­nipola and fly­half Owen Far­rell and vet­eran Ir­ish No 8 Jamie Heaslip.

Hunter, capped 83 times and a World Cup win­ner in 2014, has played in ev­ery Test for her coun­try this year in which 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 chair­per­son 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.

“With so much col­lec­tive and per­sonal achieve­ment dur­ing the year, it was very tough se­lect­ing our awards win­ners.

“The All Blacks were again dom­i­nant and thor­oughly de­serve their ac­co­lades, though the ex­ploits of Fiji and Aus­tralia at the Olympics and a resur­gent England un­der Eddie Jones were no­table too.

“I would like to con­grat­u­late all our win­ners and nom­i­nees this evening and look for­ward to what prom­ises to be a very spe­cial 2017 with the Women’s Rugby World Cup, the men’s and women’s sevens se­ries and the Bri­tish & Ir­ish Lions tour.”

The award win­ners were se­lected by in­de­pen­dent pan­els, who voted on ev­ery match from the Six Na­tions through to the start of the Novem­ber in­ter­na­tion­als. — — — — — — — — —

Beau­den Bar­rett

World Rugby awards for 2016 an­nounced in Lon­don on Sun­day: Men’s Player of the Year Women’s Player of the Year Team of the Year Coach of the Year Break­through Player of the Year Men’s Sevens Player of the Year Women’s Sevens Player of the Year Ref­eree Award Ver­non Pugh Award for Dis­tin­guished Ser­vice

Award for Char­ac­ter Rugby Opens Bor­ders, Aus­trian Rugby Union IRPA Spe­cial Merit Award IRPA Try of the Year

Olympic recog­ni­tion

Jor­dan Hen­der­son

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