Kieran Read named World Player of the Year
December 3, 2013
New Zealand's Kieran Read crashes over against England at Twickenham in November © Getty Images
New Zealand No. 8 Kieran Read has been named World Player of the Year as the All Blacks dominated the International Rugby Board awards.
New Zealand, who set a new record in the professional era by winning all 14 of their Tests in 2013, won Team of the Year for the seventh time. Steve Hansen was named Coach of the Year for the second time in a row.
"This is fantastic recognition of a very special team," New Zealand Rugby chairman Mike Eagle said. "We are very proud of what Steve, Kieran and the team have achieved in 2013 as they have worked hard to be the best."
Read was picked ahead of Ben Smith, Leigh Halfpenny, Eben Etzebeth and Sergio Parisse. He is the third All Black to win the award, after Dan Carter in 2005 and 2012 and Richie McCaw in 2006, 2009 and 2010.
The winners were picked by a panel chaired by Australia's Rugby World-Cup winning captain John Eales including Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphael Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustin Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.
Read said the award could be attributed to the quality of the All Blacks, but he warned his team-mates that they couldn't expect the same degree of dominance next year. "There's a little gap but teams are catching up. South Africa is really close. They're building pretty nicely. And a couple of northern teams - England and Wales - are pretty good sides. So we've got to keep improving."
Read said the nailbiting 24-22 win over Ireland in Dublin was the wake-up call the All Blacks needed. "This game's tough, you saw that in that last game, he said, "Hopefully we can continue in the winning vein. It won't last forever but we'll try our best to do that."
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB player, coach and team awards bring the international rugby year to a close and what a year it has been for New Zealand. They seem to reach new levels of excellence every year and although some managed to push them very close, they were clearly the stand-out team of the year.
"From a starting point of brilliance, Read has been improving steadily in recent years and is now, without question, a world-class player. His talent, work ethic and attitude make him an extremely valuable player for New Zealand and a formidable opponent for everyone else. Winning this award reflects a magnificent contribution to our game during 2013."
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