All Blacks star Savea crowned World Rugby Player of the Year
SPOTLIGHT: New Zealand No.8 Ardie Savea has been named the 2023 World Rugby Player of the Year.
The All Blacks loose forward won the award ahead of Springboks’ 2023 World Cup winner Eben Etzebeth, Ireland’s Bundee Aki and former winner Antoine Dupont from France.
Savea started all but one of New Zealand’s seven games at the World Cup and he becomes his country’s first recipient of the award since fullback Beauden Barrett in 2017.
The Hurricanes loose forward guided the All Blacks to a record 20th Rugby Championship this year.
Former France flank Thierry Dusautoir 2011 is the only other player to have won the prize since 2001, after losing a World Cup final.
Savea’s All Blacks teammate Mark Telea picked up the Breakthrough Player of the Year award.
Telea beat Springboks flyhalf Manie Libbok, France prop Louis Bielle-Biarrey (France) and his countryman Tamaiti Williams for the accolade.
Ireland’s Andy Farrell was named coach of the year after leading the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam but was ultimately defeated by the All Blacks in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Englishman Farrell pipped the other nominees in South Africa’s Jacques Nienaber, New Zealand’s Ian Foster and Simon Raiwalui, who helped Fiji to the World Cup quarters.
Etzebeth is the only South African in the team of the year, along with the three others nominated for player of the year.
World Cup hosts France and Ireland have 10 representatives in the side, despite being knocked out in the tournament’s last eight.
Savea and three of his compatriots in second-row Scott Barrett, flyhalf Richie Mo’unga and wing Will Jordan are included.
Former greats in double World Cup winner with New Zealand Dan Carter, 2007 World Cup winner with the Springboks Bryan Habana, former Wallabies flank George Smith, former Argentina playmaker Juan Martin Hernandez as well as Dusautoir were inducted into World Rugby’s hall of fame.
Four women’s awards, including the player of the year, will be handed out after the ongoing WXV tournament which ends early next month.
World Rugby Awards 2023 – Winners
Player of the Year
Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
Coach of the Year
Andy Farrell (Ireland)
Breakthrough Player of the Year
Mark Tele’a (New Zealand)
International Rugby Players’ Try of the Year
Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland, v England on February 4)
Women’s Sevens Player of the Year
Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand)
Men’s Sevens Player of the Year
Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina)
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service – George Nijaradze (Georgia)
International Rugby Players Special Merit Award – John Smit (South Africa)
Rugby for All Award – SOS Kit Aid
World Rugby Referee Award – David McHugh (Ireland)
World Rugby Men’s 15s Dream Team of the Year:
World Rugby Hall of Fame 2023 inductees
No.162 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
No.163 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
No.164 – George Smith (Australia)
No.165 – Juan Martín Hernández (Argentina)
No.166 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
*Additional Source: AFP