McCaw named New Zealand's top player
December 14, 2012
Richie McCaw craddles the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Award in Auckland last night © Getty Images
All Blacks captain Richie McCaw has been named New Zealand Player of the Year for a fourth time.
McCaw beat off competition from All Black No.8 Kieran Read and centre Conrad Smith to claim the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Award, which he previously won in 2003, 2006 and 2009.
Dan Carter, who was named International Rugby Board Player of the Year, earlier in the month failed to make the shortlist for award.
The All Blacks were named team of the year while their head coach Steve Hansen was honoured as top coach in his first season in charge of the team.
McCaw, 31, played in all but one of the All Blacks' 14 test matches and almost led the team to an unbeaten season - only to lose to England at Twickenham in their final test of the year.
McCaw will miss much of next as he takes a six-month sabbatical from rugby in the hope of preserving his motivation and fitness levels for New Zealand's defence of their crown at the 2015 World Cup in England.
Smith was named Super Rugby Player of the Year, beating the Chiefs' Aaron Cruden and the Hurricanes' Craig Clarke to the award.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament
A selection of the best pictures from England's historic World Cup triumph in Paris as they beat Canada 21-9