In a very successful night for the New Zealand, Portia Woodman and Beauden Barrett were named World Rugby Women’s and Men’s Player of the Year 2017 at the World Rugby Awards in Monte Carlo on Sunday.
Fly-half Barrett achieved the Award for a second consecutive year. He is only the second player to achieve this feat, as fellow New Zealander Richie McCaw did so in 2010.
Congratulations to all New Zealand winners at the @WorldRugby awards - the Black Ferns, Portia Woodman, Michaela Blyde, Rieko Ioane, Beauden Barrett. Celebrating the best of the best. #worldrugbyawards— New Zealand Rugby (@NZRugby) 27 November 2017
A well-deserved award for Barrett
After another great year, Beauden Barrett, 26, was a clear favourite for the Men’s Award. He overcome All Blacks team-mate Rieko Ioane, England and British Lions duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje and Australia full-back Israel Folau.
'I'm just one player in a great team,' said Barrett after receiving the Award. 'I'm very proud and surprised. I wanted to be better than last year and I still feel I have plenty to go so that's very exciting.'
'When I hang my boots up, that's when I can look back and be really proud of this.'
Barrett recently celebrated his 50th Test wearing the All Blacks jersey in a match against Samoa. He scored 24 points, including two tries.
Portia Woodman and the Black Ferns
It was also a very successful year for New Zealand’s Women’s Ruby.
After playing every minute of the Black Ferns’ Women’s Rugby World Cup victorious campaign, Portia Woodman, 26, took this year’s Women’s Player of the Year Award.
She played all eight of New Zealand’s tests in 2017, scoring 16 tries in total.
Other nominees were fellow New Zealander Kelly Brazier, French duo Romane Menager and SafiN’Diaye and England’s Lydia Thompson.
Also, after a fifth Women’s Rugby World Cup title, the Black Ferns were chosen as the World Rugby Team of the Year, ahead of the other two nominees, England Men’s 15s and New Zealand Men’s 15s.
“Obviously just winning the Team of the Year award shows just how good our team is, and they make me look good. They do all the work and I am out there on the sideline just waiting for the ball. My mum wasn’t a big fan of me playing rugby, but I think she was going to support me no matter what and, without them (my parents), I obviously wouldn’t be where I am because they pushed me to do everything I can to the best of my ability,” said Woodman.
“An outstanding 2017 for rugby,” World Rugby Chairman
After the awards, World Rugby’s Chairman Bill Beaumont, congratulated all the nominees and winners.
“It has been an outstanding 2017 for rugby on and off the field and tonight we have recognized and celebrated those who have made it so special,” said Beaumont.
“From the players, teams and coaches who have inspired millions of fans to the unsung volunteers and projects who at community level are the foundation of our great game, we salute them all.
“Congratulations to all our nominees and award winners who have not just displayed excellence, but who embody rugby’s character-building values.”
Full list of winners
World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year, in association with Mastercard – Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)
World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year, in association with Mastercard – Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
World Rugby Team of the Year – New Zealand Women’s 15s
World Rugby Coach of the Year – Eddie Jones (England)
World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in association with TUDOR – Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)
World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC – Perry Baker (USA)
World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC – Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)
World Rugby Referee Award – Joy Neville (Ireland)
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service – Marcel Martin (France)
Award for Character – Eduardo Oderigo (Argentina)
IRPA Special Merit Award – Richie McCaw (New Zealand) and Rachael Burford (England)
IRPA Try of the Year – Joaquin Tuculet (Argentina, v England)