The World Rugby Awards was an amazing night of celebration in Monaco’s Salle des Étoiles. Stars of the rugby world gathered to reflect on the year’s highlights and recognize the achievements that made the last twelve months memorable on a global scale. New Zealand won the most awards. Under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene of Monaco, 12 prizes were awarded throughout the evening to rugby players, coaches and referees.
A bittersweet moment during the evening was when France’s Marcel Martin was honoured with the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service. Marcel Martin passed away on 22 May at the age of 84 and was a strong force in the rugby world. He helped create the World Cup and was one of its directors from 1987 to 2003. He was also president of the professional rugby club union from 2004 to 2017 and treasurer of the National Rugby League from 2008 to 2017.
Up against Owen Farrell (England), Beauden Barrett (New Zealand) won the World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year award. The World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year was awarded to Portia Woodman, also from New Zealand and part of the team that won World Rugby Team of the Year.
Ireland’s Joy Neville, the first woman to referee a European match on 7 November (Bordeaux-Bègles – Enisei) won best referee. An award for the Try of the Year went to Argentinean Joaquin Tuculet for his decisive action against England in June, while Eduardo Oderigo won the prize for character.
Here is the full list of winners for the 2017 World Rugby Awards:
World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year – Beauden Barrett, New Zealand
World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year – Portia Woodman, New Zealand
World Rugby Team of the Year – New Zealand Women’s 15s
World Rugby Coach of the Year – Eddie Jones, England
World Rugby Referee Award – Joy Neville, Ireland
IRPA Try of the Year – Joaquin Tuculet, Argentina
World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year – Rieko Ioane, New Zealand
World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year – Perry Baker, USA
World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year – Michaella Blyde, New Zealand
IRPA Special Merit Award – Rachael Burford, England and Richie McCaw, New Zealand
Award for Character – Eduardo “Coco” Oderigo, Argentina
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service – Marcel Martin, France