In awe of McCaw

All Black captain Richie McCaw has beaten Dan Carter to the IRB Player of the Year award.

New Zealand rugby won a hat-trick of awards with the All Blacks named IRB Team of the Year for the second consecutive year and head coach Graham Henry winning the IRB Coach of the Year award.

The IRB Player of the Year award was considered by a panel of former rugby legends with 503 caps between them including Jonathan Davies, Keith Wood, Will Greenwood and Fabien Galthie, chaired by double Rugby World Cup winner John Eales. All major Test matches during 2006 were considered with Australia’s Chris Latham, South Africa’s Fourie du Preez and Ireland lock Paul O’Connell all short-listed alongside McCaw and Carter for the prestigious award.

France’s outstanding young fly half Lionel Beauxis was named IRB U21 Player of the Year after starring in his country’s triumph in the U21 World Championship on home soil this year, while Australia’s Josh Holmes was named IRB Under 19 Player of the Year after a string of outstanding performances for his country on the way to the Under 19 World Championship title in Dubai.

The award for IRB Sevens Team of the Year went to 2005/06 IRB Sevens Series winners Fiji, while Samoa’s captain Uale Mai was named Sevens Player of the Year.

AWARD WINNERS:

IRB International Player of the Year: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
IRB International Team of the Year: New Zealand
IRB International Coach of the Year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
IRB International Sevens Team of the Year: Fiji
IRB International Sevens Player of the Year: Uale Mai (Samoa)
Spirit of Rugby Award: Polly Miller
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Brian Lochore
IRB Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Peter Marshall
IRB International Women’s Personality of the Year: Margaret Alphonsi
IRB Development Award: Mike Luke
IRB Hall of Fame inductees: William Webb Ellis and Rugby School