New Zealand wing Julian Savea has today been named the IRB Junior Player of the Year 2010, the second of the prestigious IRB Awards in association with Emirates Airline to be presented this year.
Savea was presented with the Award by IRB Vice Chairman Bill Beaumont after helping New Zealand win a third successive IRB Junior World Championship title with a 62-17 defeat of Australia at the Estadio El Coloso del Parque in Rosario, Argentina.
He becomes the third New Zealander in succession to win the coveted award, following in the footsteps of Aaron Cruden in 2009 and Luke Braid in 2008.
Savea beat off stiff competition from his New Zealand captain Tyler Bleyendaal, Australia centre Robbie Coleman and Argentina fly half Ignacio Rodriguez Muedra to receive the honour.
The 19-year-old powerful and athletic wing has scored eight memorable tries in the tournament to equal the record of countryman Zac Guildford set last year in Japan.
Savea has been almost impossible to stop when in full flight, leaving defenders in his wake. Coming to the Junior World Championship with experience of the IRB Sevens World Series, Savea has shown great spatial awareness coupled with speed and strength.
"I feel pretty stoked," said Savea. "Once again just credit to the boys as without them I wouldn't be here. I enjoyed the game tonight, it was great, we got up and played and I think the boys just capitalised on our opportunities more."
Savea is the latest New Zealander to win the IRB Age Grade Award with previous winners Cruden, Isaia Toeava, Jerome Kaino and Luke McAlister all having gone on to play for the All Blacks.
"The IRB Junior World Championship has shown us the future stars of the world game, which looks to be in very good hands," said Beaumont, in Argentina to present the Award.
"The IRB Junior Player of the Year Award is essential in recognising achievement at this level and Julian should feel extremely proud that he has won this award given the very talented players on show here over the past three weeks."
2009 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Aaron Cruden (New Zealand)
2008 - IRB Junior Player of the Year: Luke Braid (New Zealand)
2007 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Robert Fruean (New Zealand)
2006 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Josh Holmes (Australia)
2006 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Lionel Beauxis (France)
2005 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Isaia Toeava (New Zealand)
2005 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)
2004 - IRB International U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand)
2004 - IRB International U21 Player of the Year in association with Waterford Crystal: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand)
2003 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Jean Baptiste Payras (France)
2003 - IRB U21 Player of the Year in assoc. with Waterford Crystal: Ben Atiga (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB U19 Player of the Year: Luke McAlister (New Zealand)
2002 - IRB U21 Player of the Year, in assoc. with Waterford: Pat Barnard (South Africa)
2001 - IRB Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales)