Rugby | Josh van der Flier named World Rugby Player Of The Year
Josh van der Flier has been named as the 2022 Men's 15s World Rugby Player Of The Year, with Terry Kennedy winning the World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year award.
Kennedy has become the first Irish player to win the seven's award, fending off competition from Nick Malouf (Australia), Kaminieli Rasaku (Fiji), Corey Toole (Australia), and capping off a wonderful season which also saw him included in the Dream Teams for both the Series and Rugby World Cup Sevens 2022.
Leinster and Ireland star van der Flier beat teammate Johnny Sexton, South Africa centre Lukhanyo Am and France scrum half Antoine Dupont to the award at the World Rugby Awards at Salle des Étoiles in Monaco.
The flanker started all 11 of Ireland's tests this year, scoring four tries in 2022 as Andy Farrell's side won the Triple Crown and also recorded an historic series win over New Zealand.
The 29-year-old, who also claimed the 2022 EPCR European Player of the Year award earlier this year, becomes the third Irishman to win the accolade after Keith Wood (2001) and Sexton (2018).
"I've been incredibly fortunate to have great teammates and coaches that have really pushed me on, as well as my wife and my family supported me a huge amount," van der Flier said.
"I'm lucky to have some very experienced, top quality players and especially in my position both in Ireland and in Leinster, so I've always felt I've needed to be playing at my best the whole time or I wouldn't be playing, so that's certainly driven me on."
Tadhg Furlong, Tadhg Beirne and Sexton also joined van der Flier in the World Rugby Men’s 15s Dream Team of the Year.
New Zealand’s Ruahei Demant, who played a starring role in the black Ferns' triumph at the 2021 Rugby World Cup, was named as the Women’s 15s Player of the Year.
Elsewhere, Black Ferns coach Wayne Smith was crowned the World Rugby Coach of the Year, while Italy's Ange Capuozzo won the World Rugby Men’s Breakthrough Player of the Year award.