All Blacks' Savea named World Rugby player of the year

football29 October 2023 21:12| © AFP
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Ardie Savea @ Getty images

New Zealand No 8 Ardie Savea won World Rugby's men's player of the year award on Sunday, less than 24 hours after his team lost the World Cup final to South Africa.

Savea, 30, beat Springboks lock Eben Etzebeth, France captain Antoine Dupont and Ireland centre Bundee Aki to the prize.

South Africa clinched a record fourth World Cup thanks to Saturday's 12-11 win over the All Blacks in Paris.

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 full-back Beauden Barrett in 2017.

The Hurricanes loose-forward guided the All Blacks to a record 20th Rugby Championship this year.

Former France flanker Thierry Dusautoir in 2011 is the only other player to have taken the prize, awarded since 2001, after losing a World Cup final.

In the other categories, Ireland's Andy Farrell was named coach of the year after leading the side to a Six Nations Grand Slam but also defeat 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, fly-half Richie Mo'unga and winger 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 flanker George Smith, ex-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.