All Blacks clean up at IRB’s annual awards

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World champions New Zealand have completed a clean sweep of the International Rugby Board’s major annual awards.

All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter was yesterday named player of the year for a second time, while New Zealand won team of the year and Steve Hansen landed coach of the year honours.

Carter emerged victorious from a short-list that also included All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, England fly-half Owen Farrell and France playmaker Frederic Michalak.

The 30-year-old – who also received the honour back in 2005 – is the leading points-scorer in international rugby history, having amassed 1,385 from 94 Tests, and he has played a pivotal role behind New Zealand’s ongoing status as the world No 1-ranked team.

Hansen, meanwhile, succeeded Graham Henry as All Blacks coach after last year’s World Cup triumph, with New Zealand unbeaten in 2012 until their defeat against England at Twickenham two days ago.

IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset presented McCaw with the team award and players’ award on Carter’s behalf at yesterday’s World Cup pool draw in London, while Hansen received his award from IRB vice-chairman Oregan Hoskins.

“Dan Carter has bounced back from the disappointment of missing the majority of the (2011) World Cup through injury to show what a truly magnificent player he is and a wonderful ambassador for our sport,” Lapasset said. “Winning this award for the second time reflects his sheer talent and ability.”

The IRB Player of the Year Award was selected by the IRB Awards independent panel of judges, comprising former internationals with more than 500 Test caps between them.

Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga, Paul Wallace and convenor John Eales watched more than 100 hours of Test action, awarding points to the three players they thought stood out in each match.

Last year’s winner was Frenchman Thierry Dusautoir, while Carter’s compatriot Richie McCaw won the accolade in 2009 and 2010. McCaw and Carter are the only 
players to win the prestigious award more than once.