All Black's captain Richie McCaw has been named the International Rugby Board player of the year for a record third time.
The 29-year-old flanker is the first player to receive the prestigious accolade three times, as well as in consecutive years, cementing his position as one of the greats of the game.
The accolade completes a hat-trick of IRB Awards for New Zealand, with the All Blacks named team of the year for a fourth time in six years and Graham Henry unveiled as coach of the year for a record fourth time.
Henry has previously been named coach of the year in 2005, 2006 and 2008.
McCaw faced stiff competition for the player of the year award, with teammate Mils Muliaina, South Africa's Victor Matfield, Imanol Harinordoquy from France and rising young Australian stars David Pocock and Kurtley Beale all performing superbly during the year.
However, it was McCaw, who captained the world's number one ranked team to a record 13 wins from 14 matches during 2010, including a Tri-Nations title and an unbeaten end of year tour to Europe, that consistently impressed the IRB's awards panel.
The accolades cap a phenomenal year for New Zealand Rugby with Julian Savea winning the IRB Junior Player of the Year in June and Carla Hohepa named IRB Women's Personality of the Year in September after a magnificent Women's Rugby World Cup.