World Rugby announced a whole host of awards during their virtual edition of the World Rugby Awards on Monday evening and included a Team of the Decade award that has caused quite a bit of debate. Here’s a look at that and some of the other awards from the night.
Instead of the traditional awards celebrating performances on the pitch in 2020, fans had the opportunity to vote for six Player and Try of the Decade Awards with the World Rugby Awards’ star-studded panel given the difficult task of selecting two Teams of the Decade.
Every World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Year recipient since 2010 were shortlisted for the World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s Player of the Decade, from three-time recipients Dan Carter and Richie McCaw to Emily Scarratt and Jessy Trémoulière.
A total of 394,795 votes were cast by the public across the six categories during the voting window in October with rugby fans eager to have their say on who should claim the prestigious accolades for last decade.
Six nations are represented in the World Rugby Men’s 15s Team of the Decade selected by the star-studded panel with seven players from New Zealand, three from South Africa, two from Ireland and one each from Australia, Italy and Wales.
The Team of the Decade boasts a total of 1,637 test caps between them.
1. Tendai Mtawarira (RSA), 2. Bismarck du Plessis (RSA), 3. Owen Franks (NZL), 4. Brodie Retallick (NZL), 5. Sam Whitelock (NZL), 6. David Pocock (AUS), 7. Richie McCaw (NZL), 8. Sergio Parisse (ITA), 9. Conor Murray (IRE), 10. Dan Carter (NZL), 11. Bryan Habana (RSA), 12. Ma’a Nonu (NZL), 13. Brian O’Driscoll (IRE), 14. George North (WAL), 15. Ben Smith (NZL)
Men’s 15s Player of the Decade
New Zealand’s two-time Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw was named World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Decade in association with Tudor after seeing off competition from former team-mates Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett as well as Thierry Dusautoir, Johnny Sexton and Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Women’s 15s Player of the Decade
France full-back Jessy Trémoulière added another accolade to her Player of the Year award in 2018 by being voted the World Rugby Women’s 15s Player of the Decade in association with Tudor ahead of Carla Hohepa, Michaela Staniford, Magali Harvey, Kendra Cocksedge, Sarah Hunter, Portia Woodman and Emily Scarratt.
Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade
Fiji’s own Olympic champion Jerry Tuwai was a popular winner of the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of Decade in association with HSBC award, seeing off competition from Mikaele Pesamino, Cecil Afrika, Tomasi Cama, Tim Mikkelson, Samisoni Viriviri, Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla and Perry Baker.
Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade
Black Ferns Sevens star Portia Woodman claimed the award, becoming the only player to be named World Rugby Player of the Year in both 15s and sevens. Woodman pipped team-mates Kayla McAlister, Michaela Blyde and Ruby Tui and Australia’s Olympic champions Emilee Cherry and Charlotte Caslick to the accolade.
International Rugby Players Men’s 15s Try of the Decade
Past winners of the International Rugby Players (IRP) Try of the Year from 2010 onwards were shortlisted for the International Rugby Players 15s Men’s Try of the Decade.
Jamie Heaslip’s try for Ireland against Italy in the 2016 Six Nations was voted International Rugby Players Men’s 15s Try of the Decade by fans after seeing off the competition from scores by Chris Ashton, Radike Samo, Bryan Habana, Beauden Barrett, Francois Hougaard, Julian Savea, Joaquín Tuculet, Brodie Retallick and TJ Perenara.
Women’s 15s Team of the Decade
The World Rugby Women’s 15s Team of the Decade was selected by the panel that traditionally determines the annual accolade and, after much debate, features eight players from England, six from New Zealand and one from France.
Fourteen of the team have won at least one Rugby World Cup, the exception being number eight Safi N’Diaye who has two bronze medals to her name.
1. Rochelle Clark (ENG), 2. Fiao’o Faamausili (NZL), 3. Sophie Hemming (ENG), 4 .Eloise Blackwell (NZL), 5. Tamara Taylor (ENG), 6. Linda Itunu (NZL), 7. Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), 8 .Safi N’Diaye (FRA), 9. Kendra Cocksedge (NZL), 10. Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG), 11. Portia Woodman (NZL), 12. Kelly Brazier (NZL), 13. Emily Scarratt (ENG), 14. Lydia Thompson (ENG), 15. Danielle Waterman (ENG)
The World Rugby Awards Special Edition also recognised the many players around the globe who chose to give up their time and volunteer with their club, a chosen charity or association during the COVID-19 pandemic to help those less fortunate.
Four of these players were profiled during the show in Italy back-row Maxime Mbanda, South Africa’s RWC 2019 winning captain Siya Kolisi, Canada’s Pam Buisa and former Wales centre Jamie Roberts.