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Rennie and Kellaway miss awards as English coach makes history and All Black shines

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7th December, 2021
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Wallabies coach Dave Rennie and outstanding back Andrew Kellaway have missed out on World Rugby awards on Wednesday.

All Blacks winger Will Jordan, 23, claimed the Breakthrough Player of the Year award in a stacked field that inlcuded Kellaway, Louis Rees-Zammit of Wales and the world’s most talked about youngster – England’s Marcus Smith.

Jordan scored 15 tries in his 11 Tests this year, only failing top cross in two of them and his tally was boosted with five against Tonga and a hat-trick against the United States in two devastating All Blacks romps.

But it wasn’t only his try-scoring exploits that saw him stand out, with Jordan impressing off the ball to unlock defences for teammates with regularity.

Jordan is the third All Black to win the award after Nehe Milner-Skudder in 2015 and Rieko Ioane in 2017.

Rennie and All Blacks coach Ian Foster missed out on that award with a historic win in the category by England’s Simon Middleton, who became the first coach of a women’s team to claim the award.

The 55-year-old helped England win a third successive Six Nations title in April before the Red Roses claimed record wins against New Zealand in the autumn.

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He told BBC Sport being the first women’s coach to win was “significant”.

“Hopefully it opens the door to anybody else who should be considered,” Middleton said.

“It adds another layer of credibility on to where we’re trying to get to, elevating the game.”

The Red Roses won all four of their autumn Tests to take their current winning run to 18 games.

Middleton’s side are ranked number one in the world and are set to be one of the favourites when New Zealand hosts the World Cup in 2022 – a trophy the coach says “is the holy grail” for England.

The decision came a week after World Rugby promised to “increase the pace of women’s rugby development” with a plan including a focus on player welfare and the launch of a new global competition.

Middleton said he hopes support can be given to develop more female coaches in the sport “so that one day there is a female head coach of the England women’s team”.

France Damian Penaud’s, who finished off a stunning all-round effort against Scotland in the Six Nations, won men’s try of the year.

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The women’s was scored by Emilie Boulard.

The player of the year award will be named later this week.

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