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Richie McCaw crowned another outstanding 12 months by becoming the first person to be named New Zealand's rugby player of the year for a third time.

The All Black captain won the Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial player of 2009 award last night. He also won the award in 2003 and 2006.

He was presented with this year's version at a dinner honouring the country's finest players at SkyCity in Auckland.

McCaw has had a vintage year for winning awards. He was also named as this year's International Rugby Board player of the year, making him the first person to win that award twice.

As well as the vastly experienced McCaw, one of the newest faces in the All Blacks was also honoured last night.

Hawkes Bay winger Zac Guildford, aged 20, who impressed in his debut against Wales on the Northern Hemisphere tour, is the Tom French Memorial Maori player of the year.

Mils Muliaina, who led the Chiefs, was named Super 14 player of the year.

Auckland and New Zealand women's captain Victoria Heighway was awarded the women's player of the year title, Manawatu's New Zealand under-20 captain Aaron Cruden the age-grade player of the year honour, and Zar Lawrence, who filled in as the New Zealand sevens captain, won the Richard Crawshaw Memorial sevens player of the year award.