Back-to-back rugby awards for NZ’s Barrett

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    New Zealand playmaker Beauden Barrett has been announced as world rugby player of the year, an honour he also claimed in 2016.

    The five-eighth joined All Blacks great Richie McCaw (winner in 2006, 2009 and 2010) as the only players to win rugby’s top individual honour in consecutive years.

    Barrett beat teammate Rieko Ioane, Australia fullback Israel Folau and England’s Owen Farrell and Maro Itoje to the award which was presented at a glitzy end-of-year awards ceremony in Monaco.

    “I’m very proud and surprised,” Barett said.

    “I wanted to be better than last year and I still feel I have plenty to go so that’s very exciting.”

    His win continued New Zealand’s dominance since 2012, when Dan Carter took the award. Kieran Read won in 2013 before Brodie Retallick the following year and Carter again in 2015.

    All Blacks winger Ioane won breakthrough player of the year.

    England’s Eddie Jones pipped All Blacks’ Steve Hansen and Irish Lions’ Warren Gatland to be named coach of the year.

    The 57-year-old Tasmanian led England to Six Nations success this year, presiding over a total of nine victories.

    “I feel a bit embarrassed because we’re not the No 1 team in the world.” Jones said.

    “(All Blacks coach) Steve Hansen should be up here but someone has judged it another way.”

    New Zealand’s women picked up the women’s player of the year, Portia Woodman, sevens player of the year, Michaela Blyde, and team of the year honours.

    © AAP 2017