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Barrett scoops World Rugby's top prize again

By Peter Hanson
Beauden Barrett scores for New Zealand

New Zealand star Beauden Barrett was named World Rugby’s Player of the Year for the second consecutive year.


The skilful fly-half joins All Blacks great Richie McCaw as the only player to have retained the award, while Barrett, McCaw and the great Dan Carter are the only three to have won the prize more than once.

Barrett enjoyed another stellar year in international rugby, helping New Zealand retain the Rugby Championship, while he was also a part of the side that drew a thrilling series with the British and Irish Lions 1-1.

The 26-year-old beat a star-studded shortlist including All Blacks team-mate Rieko Ioane, Australia’s Israel Folau, and England duo Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje.

“I’m very proud and surprised, I wanted to be better than last year and I think I have plenty more to go, so it’s exciting,” he said at the awards ceremony in Monaco.

“I think the Lions series really put us under pressure, the most pressure I’ve felt in a Blacks jersey, credit to the Lions, we’ll take that to the World Cup.

“One day when I hang the boots up I’ll look back and be really proud of this. I have to thank the team, I’m just one player among a great team. I really have to thank them.”

Ioane earned the consolation of being named the Breakthrough Player of the Year, while England’s Eddie Jones won the Coach of the Year after seeing his side lose just once in 2017.


Related reading: Results are in at the World Rugby Awards

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William 1 hours ago
All Blacks vs England takeaways: Richie Who? Time for Cortez

Correct analysis of Perofeta’s bungling of the try opportunity Ben. Never ‘fixed’ Steward as he came across in defence and passed too early. Steward didn’t have to break his stride and simply moved on to pressure Telea. Never scanned the easier option of passing to the two supporting players on the inside. Beauden Barrett showed how it is done when he put Telea in for his try. Another point from the game is that the rush defence is hard to maintain as the number of phases increases. From scrums the defensive line only contains backs who all have roughly the same pace. Once forwards are involved, the defence has players with variable speeds often leading to a jagged line. It also tends to lose pace overall giving the attack more time and space. Beauden Barrett’s break to set up Telea’s try came because Baxter went in to tackle McKenzie and Steward went out to cover Telea. Barrett has a massive hole to run through, then commits Steward by passing as late as possible and Telea scores untouched. Another comment I would make is that Ben Earl is a good player and generally an excellent defender but he made three significant misses in the series, two of which led to All Black tries. Got stepped by Perofeta in Dunedin for Savea’s try, missed McKenzie in Auckland leading to what should have been a certain try being set up by Perofeta and was one of the tacklers who couldn’t stop Savea in the leadup to Telea’s first try. Perhaps he should contact Owen Farrell to pick up a few tips from ‘tackle school’.

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