Richie McCaw beats out fellow NZ stars to be crowned World Rugby player of the decade
Richie McCaw and Portia Woodman have scooped major awards at a unique virtual edition of the 2020 World Rugby Awards which recognised the best 15s and sevens players of the decade (2010-19) as voted by fans.
Former All Blacks captain and openside McCaw was voted Men’s 15s Player of the Decade in association with Tudor, heading off a cast of stars including fellow New Zealanders Dan Carter, Brodie Retallick, Kieran Read and Beauden Barrett.
Woodman was voted Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade in association with HSBC in a field of finalists that included Black Ferns Sevens teammates Kayla McAlister, Michaela Blyde and Ruby Tui.
Also a finalist for Women’s 15s Player of the Decade, the Black Ferns wing’s electrifying try against England during the Rugby World Cup in 2017 was named by an international panel as the International Rugby Players Women’s 15s Try of the Decade.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Chief Executive Mark Robinson congratulated McCaw and Woodman for their awards.
“It’s fantastic that fans have recognised two players who have epitomised the effort, skill and passion that New Zealand rugby values. Both Richie and Portia have led with their actions and leadership on the field and the statistics for both players during the decade in question speak for themselves.
“Well done to World Rugby for creating such a unique awards night at the end of a challenging year and congratulations to all of the other nominees and winners.”
McCaw played 68 of his 148 Test matches for the All Blacks between 2010 and 2019 – he was captain for all but one, against Namibia at the 2015 Rugby World Cup – with a record of 61 wins, two draws and five losses.
Woodman’s statistics in sevens during the decade in question are simply staggering. She played in 29 series tournaments between 2012 and 2018, scoring 195 tries as she accumulated 975 points on the world series.
Impressively, Woodman is still playing and made her much-awaited return to rugby from a long-term injury at the Red Bull Ignite7 tournament over the weekend in Mt Maunganui.
Nominees in all six awards categories consisted of previous World Rugby Award winners over the last decade (2010-19), with the exception of the Women’s 15s Try of the Decade for which nominees have been selected by International Rugby Players.
McCaw was World Men’s Player of the Year in 2010, while Woodman was World Women’s Sevens Player of the Year in 2015.
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Criteria considered when voting for the men’s and women’s 15s and Sevens Player of the Decade included length of rugby career, performance in key matches, leadership qualities and projecting rugby’s values.
Both Woodman and McCaw were also named in the respective women’s and men’s teams of the decade as selected by the World Rugby Awards panel.
Woodman was joined by five other Black Ferns in the women’s team of the decade including halfback Kendra Cocksedge, second five Kelly Brazier, loose forward Linda Itunu, lock Eloise Blackwell and hooker Fiao’o Faamausili.
McCaw was one of seven All Blacks named in the men’s team of the decade alongside fullback Ben Smith, second-five Ma’a Nonu, first-five Dan Carter, locks Samuel Whitelock and Brodie Retallick and prop Owen Franks.
Men’s 15s Player of the Decade – Richie McCaw (New Zealand)
Women’s 15s Player of the Decade – Jessy Trémoulière (France)
Men’s Sevens Player of the Decade – Jerry Tuwai (Fiji)
Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade – Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
Men’s 15s Try of the Decade – Jamie Heaslip (Ireland)
Women’s 15s Try of the Decade – Portia Woodman (New Zealand)
World Rugby Awards Panel Choice
Women’s 15s Team of the Decade
- Rochelle Clark (ENG)
- Fiao’o Faamausili (NZL)
- Sophie Hemming (ENG)
- Eloise Blackwell (NZL)
- Tamara Taylor (ENG)
- Linda Itunu (NZL)
- Maggie Alphonsi (ENG)
- Safi N’Diaye (FRA)
- Kendra Cocksedge (NZL)
- Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG)
- Portia Woodman (NZL)
- Kelly Brazier (NZL)
- Emily Scarratt (ENG)
- Lydia Thompson (ENG)
- Danielle Waterman (ENG)
Men’s 15s Team of the Decade
- Tendai Mtawarira (RSA)
- Bismarck du Plessis (RSA)
- Owen Franks (NZL)
- Brodie Retallick (NZL)
- Sam Whitelock (NZL)
- David Pocock (AUS)
- Richie McCaw (NZL)
- Sergio Parisse (ITA)
- Conor Murray (IRE)
- Dan Carter (NZL)
- Bryan Habana (RSA)
- Ma’a Nonu (NZL)
- Brian O’Driscoll (IRE)
- George North (WAL)
- Ben Smith (NZL)
– with New Zealand Rugby
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