All Blacks star Ardie Savea named World Rugby player of the year; Springboks snubbed - Sky
All Blacks star Ardie Savea has been crowned men's player of the year at the World Rugby Awards in Paris after leading New Zealand to the Rugby World Cup final.
Savea was chosen ahead of Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth, France halfback Antoine Dupont and Ireland centre Bundee Aki after a standout year for the beaten finalists.
The Hurricanes No. 8 was one of four All Blacks included in the men's Dream Team, joined by All Blacks teammates Scott Barrett, Richie Mo’unga and Will Jordan.
Savea was announced as the winner of the men’s player of the year award by All Blacks legend Dan Carter, who was earlier inducted into the World Rugby hall of fame.
Savea scored four tries in 11 tests for the All Blacks this year and produced a Herculean performance during New Zealand’s epic quarterfinal win over Ireland, carrying 15 times for 46 metres and making 17 tackles.
Savea paid credit to the rest of his All Blacks teammates and coach Ian Foster during his acceptance speech.
He is the first All Black to win the award since Beauden Barrett in 2017.
Savea was a finalist in 2019 but missed out to South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit.
”I’m very blessed and very grateful to be up here. For an individual to stand out, it’s based on the foundation – and that’s the team,” Savea said.
“Massive shout out to Foz, skip [Sam Cane] and my brothers for this year and the journey we have been through.”
Despite winning their fourth World Cup, the Springboks were curiously overlooked for all the major awards by the voting panel, which included past legends of the game.
Etzebeth was the only player from the world champions to earn Dream Team selection.
The biggest surprise was the coach of the year award.
Despite failing to make it past the quarterfinal stage of the World Cup, Ireland’s Andy Farrell was chosen ahead of victorious Springboks coach Jacques Nienaber and All Blacks coach Ian Foster.
Ireland won the Six Nations Grand Slam for only the fourth time and were unbeaten all year until the quarterfinal.
All Blacks winger Mark Telea took out the men's breakthrough player award to cap off a breakout year after bursting onto the international scene at the age of 26.
Former Black Ferns Sevens playmaker Tyla Nathan-Wong, who has switched codes to rugby league, was named women's sevens player of the year.
Other women's awards will be announced following the conclusion of the WXV 1 tournament currently taking place in New Zealand.
World Rugby Awards
Men's 15s player of the year: Ardie Savea (New Zealand)
Coach of the year: Andy Farrell (Ireland)
Men's 15s breakthrough player of the year: Mark Telea (New Zealand)
Men's try of the year: Duhan van der Merwe (Scotland)
Women's sevens player of the year: Tyla Nathan-Wong (New Zealand)
Men's sevens player of the year: Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina)