Ex-New Zealand skipper McCaw crowned Men's 15s Player of the Decade

(Reuters) - New Zealand’s twice Rugby World Cup-winning captain Richie McCaw was named Men’s 15s Player of the Decade by World Rugby on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup 2019 - Pool A - Japan v Russia - Tokyo Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - September 20, 2019 Former New Zealand captain Richie McCaw inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Matthew Childs

McCaw, who led the All Blacks to back-to-back World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015, saw off competition from former team mates Dan Carter, Kieran Read, Brodie Retallick and Beauden Barrett, as well as France’s Thierry Dusautoir, Ireland’s Johnny Sexton and South African Pieter-Steph du Toit.

Seven New Zealand players, including Owen Franks, Sam Whitelock and Ma’a Nonu, also feature in the team of the decade, which boasts a total of 1,637 test caps.

France fullback Jessy Tremouliere, who was part of the team that won their fourth Six Nations title in 2014, was named Women’s 15s Player of the Decade.

Black Ferns’ Portia Woodman took home the Women’s Sevens Player of the Decade award while Fiji’s Olympic champion Jerry Tuwai claimed the men’s prize.

Woodman also won the Women’s 15s Try of the Decade award for her effort against the United States in the semi-final of the 2017 World Cup. Jamie Heaslip’s stunning 80-metre try for Ireland against Italy in the 2016 Six Nations was voted the best men’s 15s try of the last 10 years.

“The rugby heroes featured in the ceremony and all the others that provided outstanding service during the pandemic are an inspiration to us all,” World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said.

“I would like to congratulate all tonight’s recipients for their outstanding contribution to our game over the last decade, and for some of them, for many years to come.”

Men’s 15s Team of the Decade:

Tendai Mtawarira (RSA), Bismarck du Plessis (RSA), Owen Franks (NZL), Brodie Retallick (NZL), Sam Whitelock (NZL), David Pocock (AUS), Richie McCaw (NZL), Sergio Parisse (ITA), Conor Murray (IRE), Dan Carter (NZL), Bryan Habana (RSA), Ma’a Nonu (NZL), Brian O’Driscoll (IRE), George North (WAL), Ben Smith (NZL)

Women’s 15s Team of the Decade:

Rochelle Clark (ENG), Fiao’o Faamausili (NZL), Sophie Hemming (ENG), Eloise Blackwell (NZL), Tamara Taylor (ENG), Linda Itunu (NZL), Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), Safi N’Diaye (FRA), Kendra Cocksedge (NZL), Katy Daley-Mclean (ENG), Portia Woodman (NZL), Kelly Brazier (NZL), Emily Scarratt (ENG), Lydia Thompson (ENG), Danielle Waterman (ENG)

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge