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Black Ferns crowned World Rugby Team of the Year

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allblacks.com     27 Nov 2017     Getty Images

But the accolades didn’t stop there for the New Zealand nominees with Beauden Barrett named the World Player of the Year for the second straight season, Portia Woodman scooping the Women’s Player of the Year gong and Michaela Blyde taking out the Women’s Sevens player of the year award.

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The Black Ferns had stiff competition for the team of the year award going up against the All Blacks and the England men’s side. But the Black Ferns weren’t to be denied being the first women’s side to lift the coveted award following their fifth Rugby World Cup title earlier this year.

Black Ferns stars Portia Woodman and Kelly Brazier were on hand to collect the award in Monaco and were quick to acknowledge the support of the fans.

“The reception we got when we got back home was like nothing we have experienced before. The support from the country and around the world has been tremendous,” said Woodman.
Brazier acknowledged the hard work put in by the team to bounce back from a loss to England in June before going onto win the World Cup in August.

“I think the amount of hard work put in by our coaches, management and a lot of stuff behind the scenes was key. They were always one step ahead and that was a key part to our success,’ said Brazier.

Both Woodman and Brazier said they believe the World Cup win has increased interest in the women’s game in New Zealand: “More people are talking about women’s rugby and women’s sport overall. Just having everyone talking about it has been the best thing for it,” said Woodman.

2017 WORLD RUGBY AWARD WINNERS

Men's Player of the Year - Beauden Barrett (NZL)
Women's Player of the Year - Portia Woodman (NZL)
Team of the Year - Black Ferns
Coach of the Year - Eddie Jones (ENG)
World Rugby Referee Award - Joy Neville (IRE)
Try of the Year - Joaquin Tuculet (ARG)
Breakthrough Player of the Year - Rieko Ioane (NZL)
Men's Sevens Player of the Year - Perry Baker (USA)
Women's Sevens Player of the Year - Michaela Blyde (NZL)
IRPA Special Merit Award - Richie McCaw (NZL) and Rachael Burford (ENG)