Portia Woodman wins World Rugby Award
A Kaikohe woman scooped a big win at the World Rugby Awards along with the victorious All Blacks.
Portia Woodman, 24, was named 2015 Women's Sevens Player of the Year at the November 1 event for her success with the New Zealand Sevens Women's team.
Head coach Sean Horan wasn't surprised that Woodman won the award.
"It's the way she moves and the way her body responds to the work she does.
"She's pretty special. She's one of the most gifted and powerful players around."
Horan says she was first identified as part of the go for gold campaign when playing for the Northern Mystics netball team in 2013.
Her greatest achievements include code swapping from netball to rugby and being the highest point scorer in New Zealand Rugby women's history.
Horan says she averages 8 to 12 tries a tournament which is unheard of.
"We screened 1100 athletes and she was one of the standouts.
"She's one of the few players that I took aside early on and said 'you're pretty special'. And she's proven that."
The team have won the Women's Sevens Series three times and are off to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Woodman, who plays wing, comes from strong sporting stock with her dad and uncle playing for the All Blacks in the 1980s. Her mother's side are also avid sportspeople.
Woodman took to Facebook to express her gratitude for the esteemed award.
"Still shocked today on winning this beauty for the mantle at home! Thank you World Rugby and everyone who supports women's rugby!
"Thank you to all my fans for all your support and encouragement."
Horan says Woodman could easily be a professional rugby player for the next 10 years.
The All Blacks dominated the awards, picking up Team of the Year for the eighth time in 10 years. Daniel Carter retires on a high with his third Player of the Year award, Julian Savea won International Rugby Player's Try of the Year and Nehe Milner-Skudder scooped up Breakthrough Player of the Year for his debut as wing.
New Zealand won six out of the 13 awards on the night.