Following an historic year in which the All Blacks won the Investec Rugby Championship, retained the Bledisloe Cup for the 14th year in a row and set a world record for tier one nations of 18 consecutive Test victories, New Zealand rugby has been honoured at the World Rugby Awards in London.
The All Blacks have won Team of the Year for the seventh straight year, 47-Test first five-eighth Beauden Barrett has won Player of the Year for the first time and Steve Hansen picked up Coach of the Year for the fourth time. New Zealand Rugby Chairman Brent Impey congratulated the All Blacks on their success. “2016 has been another outstanding year for the All Blacks. New Zealand Rugby and all their fans are rightfully proud of the team's ongoing success. This is an outstanding group of athletes who inspire with the way they play the game.
“Despite losing key experienced players after winning the World Cup, the All Blacks have continued to be dominant in 2016; setting the world record for consecutive Test victories, winning the Investec Rugby Championship, retaining the Bledisloe Cup and winning the Steinlarger Series against Wales. They are worthy winners of the Team of the Year award.
“Steve Hansen’s fourth win as Coach of the Year award is a tribute to his great planning, strategic thinking and the high performance culture he has instilled. It reflects many years of hard work, focus and dedication that has led to him to being the most successful All Blacks coach in the professional era. “I also want to acknowledge the great team of All Blacks Assistant Coaches and management that support Steve to achieve what he does.
“I want to congratulate Beauden Barrett for winning Player of the Year. 2016 was a breakout year for Beauden as the leading points scorer in both Investec Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship. He’s played great attacking rugby that has been exciting to watch. “New Zealand Rugby was well represented among the nominees at this year’s awards. Congratulations also to our nominees - to Dane Coles and Fiao'o Fa'amausili, who were nominated for Player of the Year, Ardie Savea and Anton Lienert-Brown, both nominated for Breakthrough Player, Portia Woodman nominated for Women’s Sevens Player and TJ Perenara who was nominated for Try of the Year.
“These awards and nominations show that rugby in New Zealand is in good heart. We thank our fans wherever they are for their continued support and the part they play in ensuring rugby continues to unify and inspire New Zealanders.”