FRANCE CAPTAIN THIERRY Dusautoir has beaten off stiff competition to win the 2011 IRB Player of the Year award.
The player was the only European player named on the shortlist and was up against David Pocock, Will Genia, Ma’a Nonu, Jerome Kaino and Piri Weepu.
While France were criticised for some of their performances in the tournament, which included a loss against Tonga, Dusautoir and his teammates put in what was generally regarded as an excellent display in the final, as they narrowly lost out to New Zealand.
And despite Dusautoir’s outstanding, man-of-the-match performance yesterday, at least one New Zealand journalist still struggled to identify him correctly following his heroics (see video below).
Dusautoir was not everyone’s choice, as Ma’a Nonu narrowly beat David Pocock in a recent Score.ie poll asking which of the nominees should be named Player of the Year, gaining 27% of the vote.
Elsewhere, the All Blacks were named IRB Team of the Year, while Graham Henry was awarded the Coach of the Year accolade.
Australia’s Radike Samo got Try of the Year, while ex-referee Keith Lawrence received the IRB referee award for distinguished service and former NZRU chairman Jock Hobbs took the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service.