Dusautoir and All Blacks take top awards

DAVID LONG
Last updated 22:30 24/10/2011
Thierry Dusautoir
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SCANT CONSOLATION: Thierry Dusautoir is the IRB Player of the Year.

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France captain and World Cup final man-of-the-match Thierry Dusautoir has taken out the IRB Player of the Year at an awards ceremony in Auckland.

Ma'a Nonu, Piri Weepu and Jerome Kaino were all shortlisted for the prestigious award, but Dusautoir got the nod.

However, the IRB Team of the Year went to the new world champions, The All Blacks, while Graham Henry was named Coach of the Year.

It was also a special evening for former NZRU chairman and All Black Jock Hobbs, who took out the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service.

Hobbs has been battling cancer and it was a touching accolade for someone who has given so much to rugby.

It is an awards named after the the former IRB chairman from Wales, who guided rugby into the professional era, and it presented to someone who has had a significant impact on the game.

Hobbs' family were at the ceremony to see him pick up the award, including his son Michael, who will play for the Blues next season.

The other New Zealander to pick up an award was former referee Keith Lawrence, who picked up the IRB referee award for distinguished service.

The try of the year award went to Wallabies No 8 Radike Samo.

The evening opened with three-time player of the year, Richie McCaw, walking through the packed Vector Arena carrying aloft the Webb Ellis Cup. Not surprisingly, he was greeted by a standing ovation as he made his way to the stage.

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