All Black star scoops World Rugby award, history made for top coach

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:33PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

All Black star scoops World Rugby award, history made for top coach

Author
NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Wed, 8 Dec 2021, 1:33PM

All Blacks winger Will Jordan has been named World Rugby's Breakthrough Player of the Year. 

He follows fellow All Blacks wingers Nehe Milner-Skudder and Rieko Ioane to win the award which was first handed out in 2015. 

The Crusaders star announced his arrival on the world stage over the last 12 months with a record of 15 tries in 11 tests in 2021, including five against Tonga and a hat-trick against USA saw him become the second-fastest All Black to reach 15 tries. 

Jordan caught the eye not just for his try-scoring exploits for the All Blacks but also his work off the ball, unlocking defences for team-mates with regularity. 

Jordan only failed to score in two matches this season. The other nominees for the award were Andrew Kellaway of Australia, Welshman Louis Rees-Zammit and England's Marcus Smith. 

England's Simon Middleton created history as the first coach of a women's team to win the prestigious award, having guided the Red Roses through a second successive calendar year unbeaten and 18 tests wins in a row, including back-to-back record wins over world champions New Zealand in November. 

Middleton, in his seventh year as England head coach, saw his side score 57 tries and concede only 10 in 2021 as they added another Women's Six Nations title to their honours roll. 

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He beat out All Blacks coach Ian Foster, the duo of Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney who coached the Black Ferns Sevens to Olympic gold and Wallabies coach Dave Rennie. 

In other categories, including best players of the year will be named later this week.