Portia Woodman isn't only the best female rugby player on the planet, she deserves an award for best acceptance speech too.

The Northlander's acceptance speech at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco yesterday was humble, gracious and honest.

"Obviously winning the team of the year award shows how good the team is ... honestly they make me look good.

"They do all the work and I'm out there on the sideline waiting for the ball.''


Refreshingly there was no "thanks to the ladies in the kitchen".

Woodman did reveal she travels with a piece of hangi rock from "up north" in her boot, so she always has a piece of home with her, causing the awards host to quip: "You are that quick with a rock in your boot, it would be amazing to see you without!"

Woodman isn't only quick, she seems to be thoughtful, and careful how she expresses herself off the field.

Earlier this year, she challenged male players to consider whether they would have coped with, let alone accepted,the busy World Cup tournament match schedule that the Black Ferns and other female teams were faced with.

And her off-field demeanour can't be challenged, unlike some of her highly paid male rugby player counterparts, some of whom have difficult interpreting the signs outside disabled toilets.

It's time the discriminatory pay scale was addressed in world rugby. At the moment women are paid the equivalent of the sporting minimum wage and have fewer expenses covered than the men.

The women deserve more and in Woodman they have someone capable of representing their views in a measured, assertive manner, when it comes to bargaining.

The female All Blacks have led the way with performances on and off the field in 2017, and in many ways are the best team in the world this year.


Congratulations Portia, and the Black Ferns.