Barrett crowned World Rugby Player of the Year

by Sam Phillips

All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett has been crowned World Rugby player of the year for the second year running.

Barrett was crowned the winner at the World Rugby awards, held in Monaco this morning AEDT, in front of fellow nominees Israel Folau, Rieko Ioane, Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell.

Barrett was the hot favourite to claim the prize after another stellar year leading New Zealand and the Hurricanes but the star flyhalf said he was a touch surprised to win the award for the second straight year.

"I'm a little bit surprised and just very grateful to be in the mix with the players that were nominated," Barrett said after winning the award.

"All of those players had a great season so I'm a little bit surprised but to win it back-to-back, I'm hugely grateful just to be part of an awesome All Blacks team.

"I'm only a small part of that team and here I am getting the credit for it."

Speaking about that All Blacks side, Barrett said it had been a challenging year.

"It's been a challenging year for us, in more than one way," he said.Barrett broke Australian hearts in the Dunedin Bledisloe. Photo: Getty Images"We've had injuries and we have also been tested on the field.

"We saw that in the Lions series and we have learned so much from that, which is great, and we will take that into the next couple of years, into the World Cup."

Barrett wasn't the only award recipient in Monaco, with fellow New Zealander Portia Woodman claiming the women's player of the year honours, Eddie Jones crowned coach of the year and Joy Neville awarded referee of the year.

Ioane missed out on player of the year honours but he was crowned breakthrough player of 2017, with USA Sevens star Perry Baker claiming men's Sevens player of the year honours and Black Ferns ace Michaela Blyde claiming that award in the women's category.

Argentina Joaquin Tuculet won the try of the year gong, while Richie McCaw and Rachael Burford were awarded special merit crowns.