24 Nov 2008

All Blacks dominate IRB awards

1:38 pm on 24 November 2008

A year after their quarter-final exit from the World Cup the All Blacks are the International Rugby Board's team of the year and Graham Henry is coach of the year.

But their star first-five Dan Carter didn't pick up player of the year again at the IRB awards ceremony in London.

That honour went to Shane Williams the Wales winger, who's the first player from his country to to win the award since it began in 2001.

Williams was shortlisted with his captain Ryan Jones, the 2005 winner Carter, and the captains of Scotland and Italy, Mike Blair and Sergio Parisse.

Henry says it's great to have a team that's relatively young and inexperienced win when 15 or so players left after the World Cup.

The New Zealand captain D J Forbes is Sevens player of the year.

The award takes into account performances in all the main internationals played during the year including the Six Nations, Tri-Nations and the June-July tests and is selected by an independent panel comprising former internationals.