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Read voted player of the year

03 December 2013, 23:09

Dublin - New Zealand No.8 Kieran Read was on Tuesday named as the International Rugby Board's (IRB) player of the year for 2013.

The 28-year-old becomes the third All Black to win the award following current international team-mates flanker and captain Richie McCaw (three) and fly-half Dan Carter (two).

Read's honour capped a hat-trick of awards for New Zealand who picked up the team of the year gong while Steve Hansen was named coach of the year.

Read edged out British and Irish Lions and Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny, young South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth, Italy captain Sergio Parisse and All Black team-mate Ben Smith for the award.

"I'd like to congratulate Kieran on his award as it is well deserved," said Hansen.

"He has been outstanding and has been a major contributor all season. It's been a big year and I am incredibly proud of what the boys have achieved.

"It's certainly special to have the All Blacks named for all three IRB awards, so it's important that we thank and acknowledge all those behind the team because it wouldn't happen without them -- the players, our management, the other team behind us at New Zealand Rugby, All Blacks fans around the world, but most importantly, thanks to our families for the love and support that allows us to focus on this great game."

It was the sixth time in 13 years that a New Zealander had picked up the main award while it was the seventh time both the team and coach were honoured.

For Hansen it was the second year in a row he won the coach award, although that still leaves him a fair way off his predecessor Graham Henry's five wins.

Former South Africa coach Jake White is the only other coach to have won the award more than once having been picked in 2004 and 2007.

South Africa are three-time winners of the team award with Australia, England and France having won once each.

IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset paid tribute to the award winners.

"The IRB player, coach and team awards bring the international Rugby year to a close and what a year it has been for New Zealand," he said.

"They seem to reach new levels of excellence every year and although some managed to push them very close, they were clearly the stand-out team of the year.

"From a starting point of brilliance, Kieran Read has been improving steadily in recent years and is now, without question, a world-class player.

"His talent, work ethic and attitude make him an extremely valuable player for New Zealand and a formidable opponent for everyone else.

"Winning this award reflects a magnificent contribution to our game during 2013."

With 15 tries in 61 internationals, Read is the most prolific No.8 in the history of the game.

New Zealand managed to complete the first ever perfect calendar year in the professional era having won all 14 of their test matches.

They also won the Rugby Championship this season while Hansen's record in two years as All Blacks coach is a remarkable 25 wins, one draw and one defeat, which was against England.



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