The day after South Africa's victory against New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final, All Blacks flanker Ardie Savea was voted best player in the world for 2023, during an evening organized by World Rugby at the Opéra Garnier in Paris. A jury made up of former internationals therefore chose the powerful and explosive Kiwi, who had already been named in 2019. The other contenders for this distinction were Irish center Bundee Aki, French scrum-half Antoine Dupont and second-row Eben Etzebeth.
The Wellington Hurricanes player (1.90 m and 104 kg), author of a remarkable World Cup, is considered, with the Frenchman Grégory Alldritt, as one of the best third center lines on the planet. Brother of former winger Julian Savea (8 tries during the 2015 World Cup), Ardie Savea, aged 30, shines with his activity and his prowess on the pitch. At the end of this World Cup, he will go to freelance for a few months in Japan, with the Kobe Steelers.
The All Blacks reign supreme in this list of the best players on the oval planet. Ardie Savea - who has 81 caps since 2016 - is in fact the sixth New Zealander to receive this trophy, New Zealand winning this honorary title for the eleventh time in 23 years. His compatriots Daniel Carter (2005, 2012, 2015) and Richie McCaw (2006, 2009, 2010) are the only ones to have won it three times. In front of another All Black, Beauden Barrett, crowned in 2016 and 2017.
Since the creation of this trophy in 2001, it is only the second time, during a World Cup year, that a player who is not world champion has been crowned, after Thierry Dusautoir in 2011, beaten with the XV of France in the final by... the All Blacks. The former captain of the Blues confides about the New Zealander: “I appreciated his development and his impact on this New Zealand team in recent seasons. It was a struggling team and he, along with Same Cane, assumed leadership in this group. On the pitch, he is a player who has always moved forward, whether with the ball in hand, in defense or in the rucks.
Furthermore, another All Black was highlighted: winger Mark Tele'a (27 years old at the end of the year) was elected revelation of the year, ahead of young Frenchman Louis Bielle-Biarrey, who broke through during this World Cup, the pillar Tamaiti Williams (New Zealand) and the opener Manie Libbok (South Africa).
Finally, the Englishman Andy Farrell, coach of Ireland eliminated in the quarter-finals of this World Cup by New Zealand, was elected coach of the year. Big setback for South African coach Jacques Nienaber, who has just won a second world title in a row, leaving for the Irish province of Leinster.
The Springboks, new world champions, are notably absent from this list. We only find the second row Eben Etzebeth in this year's typical XV. Rather surprising… Rassie Erasmus, the director of South African rugby, should soon react sharply. On the other hand, there are five Tricolores in this typical XV: the pillar Cyril Baille, the flanker Charles Ollivon (whose name is spelled Ollivion by World Rugby...), the scrum half Antoine Dupont, the winger Damian Penaud and the rear Thomas Ramos (all absent during the Parisian ceremony). A meager consolation prize. Same for Ireland, which also places five players in this typical team.
1. Cyril Baille (France), 2. Dan Sheehan (Ireland), 3. Tadhg Furlong (Ireland), 4. Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), 5. Scott Barrett (New Zealand), 6. Caelan Doris (Ireland) ), 7. Charles Ollivon (France), 8. Ardie Savea (New Zealand), 9. Antoine Dupont (France), 10. Richie Mo'unga (New Zealand), 11. Will Jordan (New Zealand), 12. Bundee Aki (Ireland), 13. Garry Ringrose (Ireland), 14. Damian Penaud (France), 15. Thomas Ramos (France)
2023: Ardie Savea (New Zealand)2022: Josh van der Flier (Ireland) 2021: Antoine Dupont (France)2020: No winner due to Covid-192019: Pieter-Steph du Toit (South Africa)2018: Johnny Sexton (Ireland)2017: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)2016: Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)2015: Daniel Carter (New Zealand)2014: Brodie Retallick (New Zealand)2013: Kieran Read (New Zealand)2012 : Daniel Carter (New Zealand)2011: Thierry Dusautoir (France)2010: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)2009: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)2008: Shane Williams (Wales)2007: Bryan Habana (South Africa) )2006: Richie McCaw (New Zealand)2005: Daniel Carter (New Zealand)2004: Schalk Burger (South Africa)2003: Jonny Wilkinson (England)2002: Fabien Galthié (France)2001: Keith Wood (Ireland)
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