New Zealand fly half Dan Carter has been named the IRB Player of the Year for 2012.
It is the second time the All Blacks star has won the award, the 30-year-old having received the honour back in 2005 and therefore becomes the only player other than his captain Richie McCaw to have received the prestigious Award more than once.
Carter edged out McCaw, England fly half Owen Farrell and France fly half Frédéric Michalak for the Award in one of the most closely fought battles in a year of high-calibre performances on the international stage.
The accolade completes a hat-trick of awards for New Zealand, as the All Blacks were named IRB Team of the Year for the sixth time and Steve Hansen the IRB Coach of the Year at the Rugby World Cup 2015 Pool Allocation Draw in London on Monday.
Carter, the leading point scorer in Test Rugby with 1,385 in his 94 appearances to date, has bounced back in great style from the disappointment of missing the majority of the All Blacks’ Rugby World Cup-winning campaign through a groin injury.
His calm authority and all-round mastery of the skills required to play in the playmaker position have enabled New Zealand to maintain the feel-good factor derived from ending a 24-year wait to lift the Webb Ellis Cup for a second time.
Last month New Zealand celebrated their third anniversary as the number one team in the IRB World Rankings, playing an up-tempo brand of Rugby that was not only pleasing on the eye but extremely successful.
After an eight-year apprenticeship as Graham Henry’s assistant, Hansen has seamlessly stepped up to the role of head coach and arguably taken the All Blacks on to even greater heights.
Under his command New Zealand were unbeaten in the calendar year until a 38-21 loss to England at Twickenham on Saturday, a result which brought to an end their 20-match unbeaten run. In this time the All Blacks claimed the Bledisloe Cup for the 10th consecutive year on their way to the inaugural Rugby Championship title.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset presented McCaw with the Team Award and the Players' Award on Carter's behalf, while IRB Vice Chairman Oregan Hoskins presented Hansen with the Coach Award.
“The prestigious IRB Player, Coach and Team of the Year Awards fittingly bring the curtain down on the international Rugby year and what a year it has been. Argentina's entry into The Rugby Championship, a return to traditional tours in June and an expanded Tier Two competition calendar in November,” said Lapasset.
“New Zealand have again been the stand out team of the year with their 20-match unbeaten run and thoroughly deserve the IRB Team of the Year Award along with Steve Hansen as IRB Coach of the Year for his feats in keeping a Rugby World Cup winning-team winning.”
“Dan Carter has bounced back from the disappointment of missing the majority of the World Cup through injury to show what a truly magnificent player he is and a wonderful ambassador for our sport. Winning this Award for the second time reflects his sheer talent and ability.”
The IRB Player of the Year Award is selected by the IRB Awards independent panel of judges, comprising former internationals with more than 500 Test caps between them.
Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphaël Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga, Paul Wallace and convenor John Eales watched more than 100 hours of Test action, awarding points to the three players they thought stood out in each match.
Previous winners of IRB Player of the Year Award
2011 – Thierry Dusautoir (France)
2010 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2009 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2008 – Shane Williams (Wales)
2007 – Bryan Habana (South Africa)
2006 – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
2005 – Dan Carter (New Zealand)
2004 – Schalk Burger (South Africa)
2003 – Jonny Wilkinson (England)
2002 – Fabien Galthié (France)
2001 – Keith Wood (Ireland)
Previous Winners of IRB Team of the Year Award
2011 – New Zealand
2010 – New Zealand
2009 – South Africa
2008 – New Zealand
2007 – South Africa
2006 – New Zealand
2005 – New Zealand
2004 – South Africa
2003 - England
2002 - France
2001 – Australia
Previous Winners of IRB Coach of the Year Award
2011 - Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2010 - Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2009 – Declan Kidney (Ireland)
2008 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2007 – Jake White (South Africa)
2006 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2005 – Graham Henry (New Zealand)
2004 – Jake White (South Africa)
2003 - Clive Woodward (England)
2002 - Bernard Laporte (France)
2001 - Rod Macqueen (Australia