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And the winners are...

The year was filled with moments of magic and performances which captured the imagination, but no year will be without some controversy, drama and moments of sheer insanity.

The All Blacks once again dominated the Southern Hemisphere and had a near-flawless year, losing a single game while Ireland emerged as the team of the Northern Hemisphere.

Records were broken, veterans turned back the clock, new stars were born and legends of the modern-era hung up their boots. The Wallabies provided us with the biggest controversy of the year while some absurd refereeing decisions made everyone scream at their televisions or scratch their heads.

We name and shame the best and worst in our 2014 awards:

Team of the year: Blitzbokke

It's easy to overlook the Sevens team's achievements, but this year, they richly deserved this award.

With Neil Powell at the helm, they gave South Africa their first rugby gold in an Olympic-style event, the 2014 Commonwealth Games. They then went on to win the Dubai Sevens series and followed it up a week later by retaining their Mandela Bay Sevens title.

Player of the year: Duane Vermeulen

THOR-meulen has been an absolute monster. He racked up Man of the Match awards in the Rugby Championship like a kid in a candy store, not to mention playing with a fractured rib against the All Blacks.

Forward of the year: Brodie Retallick

The World Player of the Year had a great Super Rugby campaign and maintained his exceptional form in the Rugby Championship. Throw in the fact that he is just 23-years-old, he is sure to be one of the greatest locks to have played the game.

Back of the year: Julian Savea

Some compare him Lomu and some say he is better. They have a solid argument! Big hits, amazing tries, superb line-running, great catches and monster runs are some of things that make up, arguably, the world's best wing.

Coach of the year: Joe Schmidt

He guided Ireland to the Six Nations title and capped the year off by beating Australia and the Springboks

Try of the year: Francois Hougaard v All Blacks

Who will argue with the World Try of the Year? We sure won't. The Springboks scored a phenomenal try, and to make it sweeter, it was against the old foe. Sit back and enjoy.

Surprise of the year: Ireland

Ireland have always been the 'nearly team' but 2014 was a year to remember. They claimed the Six Nations title and rounded off the year with victories over the Springboks and the Wallabies.

Maximum respect: McCaw and NAnd the winners are...onu

Richie McCaw will forever be a gentleman of the game. Jean de Villiers was playing in his 100th match and in the post-match presentation, McCaw honoured the Springbok captain by handing him a pretty big bottle of bubbly. He then did the same with Bryan Habana who has achieved the same feat a week earlier.

Not to be outdone, Ma'a Nonu, who was taken to hospital in the same match, made sure that his playing jersey reached the hands of de Villiers.

The less serious awards go to…

We finally did it: Argentina break their RC duck

It took them all of three years to finally claim their first Rugby Championship victory. Before defeating Australia 21-17 in Mendoza, Los Pumas managed a solitary draw to go with 16 defeats since they joined the Wallabies, All Blacks and Springboks to form the Rugby Championship

Is it over yet?: Kurtley Beale SagaAnd the winners are...

It exploded on a flight from South Aafrica to Argentina when requested to change into a team T-shirt. It then emerged it's been a saga bubbling under with him sending lewd text messages to Business Manager Di Patston. She left the team as soon as they touched down in South America and subsequently resigned…soon followed by Ewen McKenzie. We are all glad its over!

Brain fart award: Francois Hougaard (penalty against Wales)

We have absolutely no idea what Hougaard was thinking here, and we doubt he knows too…

Ping pong award: Japan Sevens v Italy Sevens

Possession changed hands on numerous occasion before Kosuke Hashino settle things down and ran in what was to be an easy run-in try. However, it went horribly wrong.

Quote of the year: The Honey Badger

Nick "Honey Badger" Cummins never fails when it comes to providing some pearlers.

"I crossed the line more than Osama Bin Laden."

"Last year we were all sizzle and no steak, this year we had a horror start but now we are off like a bride's nightie."

A week later, in his first interview in Japan, he produced this gem:

"The journo was as confused as a goldfish with dementia."

Referree blunder of the year: 'Own try'

No-one saw this coming, not even the unfortunate player who will go down in history as being the only player to ever score and 'own try'.

By Tauriq Ebrahim



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