Carter named Player of Year, All Blacks Team of Year

LONDON - All-conquering New Zealand completed a golden 2005 today when first five-eighth Dan Carter was named International Rugby Board (IRB) player of the year, the All Blacks team of the year and Graham Henry coach of the year.

The awards, announced at a gala dinner in Paris, came three days after the International Rugby Players' Association named Carter and New Zealand as their player and team of the year.

Yesterday, the All Blacks beat Scotland 29-10 in Edinburgh to seal a Grand Slam against the four home nations on their tour of Britain and Ireland.

Carter was inspirational for New Zealand in their 3-0 series win over the Lions earlier this year.

His 33-point haul in the 48-18 second test victory in Wellington was described by some observers as the most complete performance in the game's history.

He missed the third test due to a shoulder injury but stormed back as the All Blacks regained the Tri-Nations title.

Carter, 23, sparkled again on New Zealand's European tour, his sharp breaks setting up the two tries which helped beat world champions England 23-19 at Twickenham.

He watched from the stands yesterday when his teammates beat the Scots to complete their Grand Slam, an achievement that will contribute to next year's awards as voting was for the period up until the November internationals.

Carter was the clear winner for IRB player of the year from a shortlist that included fellow All Blacks Richie McCaw and Tana Umaga and Springboks duo Bryan Habana and Victor Matfield.

The Lions and Tri-Nations successes made the All Blacks the only possible winners in the team section, where they eclipsed Six Nations champions Wales.

Isaia Toeava, who made his debut for the All Blacks at fullback against Scotland, was named the under-19 player of the year while Australian hooker Tatafu Polota-Nau, also a debutant on the Wallabies' November tour, was the under-21 player of the year.

The IRB's spirit of rugby award went to former French flanker Jean-Pierre Rives and the chairman's award to former Welsh Rugby Union president Tasker Watkins.

Former New Zealand referee Paddy O'Brien was given the distinguished refereeing award and the Vernon Pugh award went to Peter Crittle, the former president of the Australian Rugby Union who oversaw the 2003 World Cup.

Award recipients:

Player of the year: Daniel Carter (NZ)
Team of the year: New Zealand
Coach of the year: Graham Henry (NZ)
Under-19 player of the year: Isaia Toeava (NZ)
Under-21 player of the year: Tatafu Polota-Nau (Australia)
Sevens team of the year: Fiji
Sevens player of the year: Orene Ai'i (NZ)
Spirit of rugby award: Jean Pierre Rives (France)
Vernon Pugh award for distinguished service: Peter Crittle (Australia)
Referee award for distinguished service: Paddy O'Brien (NZ)
Women's personality of the year: Farah Palmer (NZ)
Development award: Robert Antonin (France)
Chairman's award: Sir Tasker Watkins (Wales).

- REUTERS

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