Clean sweep for New Zealand in IRB awards

Kieran Read named player of the year as Kiwis end perfect year with the three big prizes

 

After conquering all before them in 2013, New Zealand have swept the boards at the IRB awards once more, taking away all three major end-of-season prizes announced on Tuesday.

Number eight Kieran Read took the most presigious of them all, succeeding All Blacks outhalf Dan Carter (2005, 2012) as the IRB player of the year, an award won three times by his captain Richie McCaw (2006, 2009, 2010).

Read beat off competition form Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Sergio Parisse (Italy) and compatriot Ben Smith (New Zealand), but there was only ever one winner after the dynamic 28-year-old backrow came of age in a memorable 12 months.

His coach Steve Hansen, after guiding his side to an unprecedented perfect year (14 wins from 14) that culminated in that heart-stopping two-point victory in over Ireland in Dublin last month, has retained the coach of the year award, following the back-to-back wins of his predecessor Graham Henry. The last non-Kiwi coach to win the award was Ireland’s Declan Kidney in the Grand Slam year of 2009.

Similarly, the team award was a foregone conclusion and also extended New Zealand’s uninterrupted run to four, with South Africa in 2009, 2007 and 2004 the only other team to win it in the last 10 years.

“The IRB player, coach and team awards bring the international Rugby year to a close and what a year it has been for New Zealand,” said IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset. “They seem to reach new levels of excellence every year and although some managed to push them very close, they were clearly the stand-out team of the year.

“From a starting point of brilliance, Kieran Read has been improving steadily in recent years and is now, without question, a world-class player. His talent, work ethic and attitude make him an extremely valuable player for New Zealand and a formidable opponent for everyone else. Winning this award reflects a magnificent contribution to our game during 2013.”

Hansen said Read’s award was “well deserved”, adding: “He has been outstanding and has been a major contributor all season. It’s been a big year and I am incredibly proud of what the boys have achieved. I thank them for their commitment and efforts throughout the year.”

The awards were selected by an independent panel chaired by Australia’s 1999 World Cup-winning captain John Eales and comprising England’s Will Greenwood, Scotland’s Gavin Hastings, Frenchman Raphaël Ibanez, South African Francois Pienaar, Argentinian Agustín Pichot, Welshman Scott Quinnell, New Zealander Tana Umaga and Ireland’s Paul Wallace.

Previous winners of the IRB Player of the Year Award

2012 Dan Carter (New Zealand)

2011 Thierry Dusautoir (France)

2010 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

2009 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

2008 Shane Williams (Wales)

2007 Bryan Habana (South Africa)

2006 Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

2005 Dan Carter (New Zealand)

2004 Schalk Burger (South Africa)

2003 Jonny Wilkinson (England)

2002 Fabien Galthié (France)

2001 Keith Wood (Ireland)

Previous Winners of IRB Team of the Year Award

2012 New Zealand

2011 New Zealand

2010 New Zealand

2009 South Africa

2008 New Zealand

2007 South Africa

2006 New Zealand

2005 New Zealand

2004 South Africa

2003 England

2002 France

2001 Australia

Previous Winners of IRB Coach of the Year Award

2012 Steve Hansen (New Zealand)

2011 Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2010 Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2009 Declan Kidney (Ireland)

2008 Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2007 Jake White (South Africa)

2006 Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2005 Graham Henry (New Zealand)

2004 Jake White (South Africa)

2003 Clive Woodward (England)

2002 Bernard Laporte (France)

2001 Rod Macqueen (Australia)

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