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Black Ferns star and Italian fullback named Breakthrough Players of the Year

By Ben Smith
Ruby Tui of New Zealand celebrates winning the Rugby World Cup 2021 Final match between New Zealand and England at Eden Park on November 12, 2022, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Black Ferns star Ruby Tui and Italian fullback Ange Capuozzo have been named World Rugby’s Breakthrough Players of the Year for 2022 at the annual awards.

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Fan favourite Tui completed a switch back to 15s to compete at this year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup to help the Black Ferns claim their sixth title in front of a record crowd at Eden Park.

The 30-year-old outside back was one of the shining lights on and off the field during the tournament, playing on the wing and at fullback for the Ferns during their campaign.

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Tui took home the Breakthrough Player award for her efforts, her second prestigious award after taking the 2019 Sevens Player of the Year crown.

Breakout Italian star Ange Capuozzo was named the Men’s 15s Breakthrough Player of the Year after bursting into the spotlight during the Six Nations to help Italy break their winless streak over Wales.

The diminutive No 15 came up with the play of the game with time almost up on the clock to break through multiple defenders to set up Italy’s game-winning try in Cardiff to end years of misery for the Italians.

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Capuozzo showed his game-breaking ability over the weekend with another stunning try against the Springboks, slicing through the line to outpace the cover defence for a classic try.

 

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