McCaw wins IRB player of the year award
November 29, 2009,

DUBLIN (AFP) - New Zealand captain Richie McCaw won the International Rugby Board (IRB) player of the year award for 2009, the global governing body announced on Saturday, and so became the first player to win the award twice.

Outstanding flanker McCaw, who won the IRB award for the first time in 2006, succeeded Wales wing Shane Williams as player of the year.

The announcement of his latest honour came shortly after McCaw had led the All Blacks to a 39-12 win over France in Marseille on Saturday.
Profile: Richie McCaw

"It's a huge honour," said McCaw. "One guy gets this but you can't do it without your mates."
This year he saw off competition for the award from South Africa duo Francois Steyn and Fourie du Preez, Australia fly-half Matt Giteau, the Ireland pair of skipper Brian O'Driscoll and back-row Jamie Heaslip and England loose forward Tom Croft.

World champions South Africa took the team of the year award, having won the Tri-Nations title and defeated the British and Irish Lions 2-1 in a Test series in 2009.
The Springboks reclaimed the award from New Zealand, having previously won it in 2004 and 2007.

"It's been a huge year for us and to top it off with a recognition like this, to secure the top prize is massive," said South Africa captain John Smit.
"It was a huge ambition of many of the guys to beat the British and Irish Lions, it was a goal to be victorious so that was a great highlight for us during the year.

Meanwhile, Declan Kidney was named coach of the year after overseeing Ireland's 2009 Six Nations grand slam - the team's first clean sweep of the northern hemisphere premier international tournament in 61 years.
Ireland were also unbeaten throughout their November Tests, rounding things off with a 15-10 win over South Africa in Dublin on Saturday.

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