MONACO (AFP) – Beauden Barrett emulated New Zealand great Richie McCaw when the All Blacks fly-half won World Rugby’s player of the year award for second straight year.
Barrett, selected at World Rugby’s annual awards dinner in Monaco on Sunday, was named from a five-strong short list of New Zealand team-mate Rieko Ioane, the England and Lions duo of Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje, as well as Australia’s Israel Folau.
The 26-year-old Barrett matched flanker McCaw’s feat of winning the award in 2009 and 2010, after starring for the All Blacks in their drawn Test series with the British and Irish Lions, scoring 41 points.
“The Lions series put us under the most pressure I have probably felt in a black jersey and that’s a credit to the Lions,” Barrett said.
“We learnt a lot from that series, particularly taking that into the World Cup. When I hang the boots up, that’s when I can look back and be really proud of this.”
Ioane received the breakthrough player of the year award, while New Zealand’s Portia Woodman was named the Women’s player of the year after her part in the Black Ferns’ fifth World Cup triumph in Ireland in August.
She received the award ahead of four other nominees in Black Ferns team-mate Kelly Brazier, England winger Lydia Thompson and France back-row duo Romane Menager and Safi N’Diaye.
England boss Eddie Jones was named coach of the year ahead of Warren Gatland (Lions) and New Zealand’s Steve Hansen.
Saturday’s 48-14 success over Samoa was England’s 22nd win out of 23 Tests since Jones took charge after their first-round exit at the 2015 World Cup.
A new panel featuring Argentina great Agustin Pichot, France’s Fabien Galthie, Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll and former England coach Clive Woodward took on board the views of supporters, international captains, coaches and the media.