Ireland scoop awards, Retallick gets best try

Ireland scoop awards, Retallick gets best try

"I'm probably going to be the most pleased of anyone when it is finally made".

A headline in the New Zealand Herald this morning read, "All Blacks bombshell - Ireland coach Joe Schmidt makes shock announcement".

"Aphiwe has been sensational since making the step up to senior provincial rugby and after a superb debut season for the Emirates Lions in Vodacom Super Rugby, he was deservedly called up to the Springbok squad", said Mr Alexander. "The coaching group are contracted beyond next year's World Cup which again provides continuity for the players ahead of the 2020 Six Nations Championship".

"They have been No. 1 in the world for nine years now and they are obviously a fantastic outfit".

David Nucifora, the IRFU performance director, added: "Joe's contribution to Irish rugby is broader than just the success achieved with the national team".

"I'm just incredibly lucky to have the IRFU with the patience they have".

Schmidt admitted he was happy with the nature of Ireland's victory, in closing out a November series of four wins on the spin.

In doing so, Sexton becomes only the second Irishman in history to receive the award after legendary hooker Keith Wood in 2001.

South Africa's other nominees - Faf de Klerk and Malcolm Marx in the World Player of the Year category - lost out to Ireland flyhalf Jonny Sexton in the main award.




Barrett took home the award for the past two years but Sexton's stellar form could not be ignored this time around.

Sexton says if a number 10 wins an award like this it is due to the team around his.

"We have some of the best coaches in the world and are led superbly by me [Best] and Pete [O'Mahony, Ireland vice-captain]". It is an incredible honor.

"I admire all of them. Any of them would've been a worthy victor".

Sexton's drop goal against France gave Ireland a dramatic win in the opening game of their Grand Slam-winning Six Nations campaign.

Australia's Angus Gardner picked up the Referee Award, with Doddie Weir scooping the Award for Character.

Michaela Blyde won the women's Sevens player of the year crown, with Perry Baker taking the honours for the men.

All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick, a former Player of the Year, won the prize for the Try of the Year.

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