Savea wins World Rugby men’s player of year award

New Zealand number eight Ardie Savea was named men’s player of the year at the World Rugby Awards on Sunday.

The 30-year-old beat Ireland’s Bundee Aki, France’s Antoine Dupont and South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth to the prize.

Savea scored three tries at the Rugby World Cup as the All Blacks reached their first final since 2015, losing 12-11 to South Africa in Saturday’s tense showpiece in Paris.

“To stand out is based off the foundations of the team,” Savea said.

“A massive thank you to [coach] Ian Foster, my captain and my brothers this year and the last couple of years for the journey we went on.”

Despite winning the Webb Ellis Cup, South Africa failed to pick up any individual awards in Paris.

Ireland boss Andy Farrell was named coach of the year after helping his side to the top of the world rankings with a 17-match unbeaten run.

New Zealand’s Foster, who beat Farrell’s side in the World Cup quarter-finals, Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui, who helped the Pacific Island nation to a first quarter-final since 2007, and South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber were the other nominees.

All Blacks wing Mark Telea was named the men’s breakthrough player of the year. The 26-year-old made his international debut last November against Scotland and went on to score three tries at the World Cup.

Scotland wing Duhan van der Merwe’s sensational solo score against England in the 2023 Six Nations earned him the International Rugby Players men’s try of the year prize.

Argentina’s Rodrigo Isgro was named World Rugby men’s sevens player of the year, while the women’s award went to New Zealand’s Tyla Nathan-Wong.

Former South Africa captain John Smit, who led his country to World Cup glory in 2007, won the International Rugby Players special merit award.

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Source: BBC