In a year when All Black No 8 Kieran Read won almost very player accolade in world rugby, it was fitting for him to be named player of the year by the game's international fan base.
Read was voted the world's best at the Ultimate Rugby IRPA Fans' Awards to top off a highly successful 2013 where the Crusader was also named IRB world player of the year and the best in New Zealand at the national rugby awards earlier this month.
Read held off stiff competition in the form of Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny and Irish loose forward Sean O'Brien.
Fans took a different view to the players, however, when it came to naming their World XV.
Only five All Blacks made the team with the back-row trio of Read, Richie McCaw and Liam Messam leading the way. Elsewhere Dan Carter was named at first-five and Conrad Smith at centre.
Will Genia, who endured a painful series against the British and Irish Lions, pulled his season out of the fire to be named at halfback ahead of All Black Aaron Smith while there was no room on the wing for Hurricanes sensation Julian Savea.
Genia said he was thrilled to be recognised by the fans.
"It's great the fans have been invited to participate in these awards," he said. "They're such a vital part of the international rugby machinery; it's good to see they have a chance to have their say.
"And, of course, I'm doubly pleased they've included me in their World XV."
IRPA officials said tens of thousands of rugby fans voted for their Player of the Year and World XV via the Ultimate Rugby app, as part of IRPA's first annual awards ceremony.
Fans' World XV of the Year: Alex Corbisiero (ENG), Bismarck Du Plessis (SA), Adam Jones (WAL), Eben Etzebeth (SA), Alun-Wyn Jones (WAL), Liam Messam (NZ), Richie McCaw (NZ), Kieran Read (NZ); Will Genia (AUS), Dan Carter (NZ), George North (WAL), Jean de Villiers (SA), Conrad Smith (NZ), Israel Folau (AUS), Leigh Halfpenny (WAL).
- © Fairfax NZ News
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