2021 World Rugby Awards all wrapped up before Christmas

2021 World Rugby Awards all wrapped up before Christmas

With the 2021 World Rugby Awards winners announced over the last week, it ‘wraps up’ the winning players, coaches, and teams across all leagues and countries. Just in time for Christmas made it the perfect Xmas gift many all recipients.

Awards might seem like the equivalent of Christmas gifts, yet they are all given on the one day [time] of the year. And the World Rugby Awards ceremony is normally held the Sunday night at the end of the agreed November International window. Yet like the rest of 2021, the road to the final awards announced this week ‘sputtered’ to a close.

Drip fed to the public over a series of days, all categories have been voted for by the World Rugby Awards panel, a stellar team of rugby legends who had the hard task of selecting winners for the World Rugby Breakthrough, Coach, and Referee awards as well as the newly created Men’s and Women’s 15s Dream Teams of 2021. 

And the women’s group (below):

2021 World Rugby Awards wrapped up before Christmas

Six categories were open to an online public vote. From 15-21 November, rugby fans had the ability to select their deserving winner for World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s and Sevens Players of the Year as well as Men’s and Women’s Try of the Year on the Awards’ voting website. 

The results displayed both the popular, as well as 2022 World Rugby Awards winners whose skill and rugby prowess were evident across the globe. Two of the premier categories each season are the women’s and men’s POTY awards – signifying that you are the very ‘best of the best’. And this year’s winners, epitomize this category perfectly.

The women’s category winner Zoe Aldcroft can feel very satisfied with her accomplishments over the 2021 calendar year. Beating out her fellow nominees [Nominees: Caroline Boujard (France), Poppy Cleall (England), Laure Sansus (France)] the England Red Roses player can plan ahead for the Rugby World Cup next year in New Zealand to continue this fine form.

Representing the men, and whilst small in stature, standing atop the selection of candidates [Michael Hooper (Australia), Maro Itoje (England/British and Irish Lions), Samu Kerevi (Australia)] is the little general, Antonine Dupont (see main photo). He capped off winning the Heineken Champions Cup with Toulouse, by helping France to defeat the All Blacks in Paris for the first time since 1973.

Marcos Moneta, men’s Sevens player of the year

Anne-Cécile Ciofani, women’s Sevens player of the year

International Rugby Players men’s Try of the Year: Damian Penaud (France, v Scotland on 26 March)

International Rugby Players Women’s Try of the Year: Emilie Boulard (France, v Wales on 3 April)

Celebrating the ‘best of the best’ in a wretched 2021

Even though some will reflect poorly on the social conditions that the global pandemic impacted on rugby, the game must be commended for ‘getting on with it’. Some matches were postponed yet the majority continued (with or without spectators). So even while the regular calendar was sorely interrupted, by year’s end, it appeared that International and domestic footy was resembling something like normal.

So as the annual 2022 World Rugby Awards beneficiaries were finally all listed by December 10, the list included prizewinners voted as individuals,teams, as referees and stakeholders.

World Rugby ‘coach of the year’ 2021, Simon Middleton (England Women)

Simon Middleton creates 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.

World Rugby ‘breakthrough’ player of the year 2021, Will Jordan (New Zealand)

A record of 15 tries in 11 tests in 2021, including five against Tonga and a hat-trick against the USA saw Jordan become the second-fastest All Black to reach 15 tries. He was also a part of the successful Crusaders side that claimed a record five-in-a-row Super Rugby championship, in the abridged Super Rugby Aotearoa competition.

World Rugby referee award: Andrew Cole (Australia)

Vernon Pugh award for Distinguished Service: Jacques Laurans (France) 

Missing from the selection in 2021 was the famed men’s and women’s teams of the Year – in both XVs or 7s. Not an anomaly, more so that the choice may have become outdated. Not only is the 2022 World Rugby Awards the recognition for players’ skills and the leadership and input needed in the modern game. Across member unions, they can decide of their own teams of the year, while the ‘dream teams’ chosen here in XVs will be followed by groups selected to represent the 2021/22 HSBC Sevens Series at the conclusion of that league’s season.

Last Word on Rugby wishes to congratulate all nominees, winning players, management, and stakeholders who display the values and qualities that World Rugby aim to represent across the sports world. Add your input on the list above on the LWOS boards forum site and all our social media platforms.


“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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