LONDON – Japan’s superb showing at the recently concluded Rugby World Cup was rewarded Sunday at the annual World Rugby awards ceremony, with the Brave Blossoms’ victory over South Africa, including a thrilling last-gasp try, voted “Best Match Moment,” and fullback Ayumu Goromaru named in the tournament’s Dream Team.
The day after the best-attended, most-watched and most commercially successful Rugby World Cup came to a close, the Brave Blossoms’ bravery on the opening weekend, when they turned down an easy kick at goal to go for the win and Karne Hesketh scored the resulting try, tallied more than 5 million votes via Facebook.
Goromaru finished the tournament with 58 points and will be remembered for his accurate kicking, his tackling — in particular a try-saver on Tommy Seymour of Scotland — and his line breaks culminating in a fine try against the Springboks.
That effort was nominated as the International Rugby Players’ Association Try of the Year, but the award was won by All Blacks wing Julian Savea for one of his five-pointers against France in the quarterfinals.
New Zealand, as expected, won Team of the Year, but in a break with long-standing tradition it was Australia’s Michael Cheika who was named Coach of the Year.
Traditionally the award — particularly in a World Cup year — goes to the Team of the Year mentor, but Cheika edged out All Blacks coach Steve Hansen and Japan’s Eddie Jones.
The Brave Blossoms were also nominated for Team of the Year.
All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter was named Player of the Year as the men and ladies in black dominated the awards.
Nehe Milner-Skudder won the World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year, Portia Woodman was named Women’s Sevens Players of the Year and the Black Ferns’ Kendra Cocksedge was named the World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year
Earlier, Sonny Bill Williams was awarded a new Rugby World Cup winner’s medal after giving the original away to a young fan after the All Blacks had beaten the Wallabies at Twickenham on Saturday.
South Africa’s Werner Kok received the men’s sevens player award and Welshman Nigel Owens the referee’s trophy while Pakistan Rugby won the Award for Character.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.