LONDON - England's remarkable turnaround during the Rugby World Cup has seen them take out the BBC Sports team of the year award today.
England, the 2003 World Cup champions, made the final of the tournament in France after recovering from a 36-0 drubbing by South Africa in the pool stages.
They met the Springboks again in the final and held them tryless, but lost the match 6-15.
"I think the term 'rollercoaster of emotions' is often overused but it seems perfectly apt to describe our journey through the World Cup," said England flanker Martin Corry, who accepted the award on behalf of the team.
"I think every one of the players, the management and the coaches all deserve a mark of respect for that."
World super-middleweight champion boxer Joe Calzaghe was named Sports Personality of the Year.
The 35-year-old WBO, WBC, WBA and former IBF title holder, a world champion for 10 years, has won all 44 of his fights and was a surprise first choice in the poll of viewer votes.
His father and coach Enzo was named coach of the year.
"I'm shocked - it's a massive honour and it caps off a great year for me," Calzaghe told the BBC from Las Vegas, where he was presented with the award by former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis and Ricky Hatton.
Hatton, beaten by Floyd Mayweather in his welterweight world title fight on Saturday, was third in the poll, with Formula One rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton, the bookmaker's favourite, second.
Former England soccer manager Bobby Robson was given a lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the game in more than half a century of playing and coaching.
All-conquering Swiss tennis player Roger Federer was named overseas personality of the year.
- REUTERS, NZ HERALD STAFF