‘Lot of hurt’: Ardie wins award 24 hours after ABs devastation, fans blow up at ‘horrendous’ Boks snub in Team of the Year

New Zealand star Ardie Savea has been named World Rugby’s men’s player of the year, despite ending up on the losing side in the Rugby World Cup final.

Savea was chosen ahead of Irish centre Bundee Aki, South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth and France captain Antoine Dupont, who won the award two years ago.

Australia’s only nominee was Maddi Levi in the women’s sevens category but she missed out to New Zealand’s Tyla Nathan-Wong.

Savea is the 11th All Black to be named world player of the year, which was first awarded in 2001. The 30-year-old was also a finalist in 2019.

Ardie Savea of New Zealand celebrates victory at full-time following the Rugby World Cup France 2023 Quarter Final match between Ireland and New Zealand at Stade de France . (Photo by Justin Setterfield – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images)

His award comes after a stellar season in which he helped New Zealand to win the Rugby Championship and a place in the World Cup final, which they lost 12-11 to the Springboks on Saturday.

“To stand out is based off the foundations of the team,” Savea said on stage

“A massive thank you to [coach] Ian Foster, my captain and my brothers this year and the last couple of years for the journey we went on.”

Later, Savea said: “I’d rather win the World Cup and send off the brothers who were playing their last games for the All Blacks with a World Cup, but hey it’s not meant to be. I’m going to go back, get around those boys and celebrate their careers.

“There a lot of hurt. I haven’t processed it yet. I think it will really hurt when I jump on the plane and it’s all quiet and spend 14 hours thinking about it. That will probably be the time it hits. It hurts, and it hurts the nation – that’s one of my worst losses.”

“Very blessed and very grateful”

Ardie Savea after being named Men’s 15s Player of the Year in partnership with @Mastercard pic.twitter.com/TNiPXDc2QY

— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) October 29, 2023

Andy Farrell was named coach of the year after guiding Ireland to a Six Nations grand slam and the quarter-finals of the World Cup, where they were knocked out by eventual finalists New Zealand.

New Zealand’s Ian Foster, who beat Farrell’s side in the World Cup quarter-finals, Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui, who helped the Pacific Island nation to a first quarter-final since 2007, and South Africa head coach Jacques Nienaber were the other nominees.

All Blacks winger Mark Telea won the award for breakthrough player, while Scotland’s Duhan van der Merwe won try of the year for his long-range solo effort against England during the Six Nations.

Springboks fans were bemused by the World Rugby team of the year which featured just one of the World Cup winning team – Eben Etzebeth – along with five Frenchmen, five Irishmen and four All Blacks.

2023’s supreme side

The World Rugby Men’s 15s Dream Team of the Year, in partnership with @Capgemini#WorldRugbyAwards pic.twitter.com/ys2q2UGhb8

— World Rugby (@WorldRugby) October 29, 2023


10 players from 2 teams that exited at the QFs stage.

4 players from the losing finalists.

ONLY 1 from the back to back WC winners.

Ok WR, this selection makes perfect sense????.

— Duke of Kimberley???? (@steph_gareth) October 29, 2023

Amazing. Win the World Cup by beating top 6 sides in the world and just one SA player ina dream team. Smh. https://t.co/bqN78r08gx

— Brenden Nel (@Brendennel) October 29, 2023

I fall into the trap of watching the #WorldRugbyAwards every year and every single time the decisions are baffling. At least they are consistent with that.

The Dream Team is particularly horrendous.

— Jared Wright (@jaredwright17) October 29, 2023

So, if Jacques Nienaber coached such an average team to become world champions while playing the top 5 teams in the world, then how on earth does he not win coach of the year. It’s all a bit embarrassing to be fair

— Josh Johnstone (@JoshJohnstone9) October 29, 2023

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