It seem only fitting that one of the most renowned sporting venues in the world be chosen to host – for the first time – the World Rugby Awards. With a propensity to attract the great and the good of the sporting world, Monaco is no stranger to hosting glittering events to celebrate the super-human achievements of those sportsmen and women oft hailed as heroes amongst us armchair athletes.

Making a change from the usual haunt of London, the awards were held under the patronage of HSH Princess Charlene.  November 26th welcomed the world’s finest Rugby players to the Salle des Etoiles Monte Carlo, all vying for recognition following the votes from an esteemed panel of experts who will have taken into account individual and team performances across each of the 6 Nations and Autumn International matches.

Since its inception in 2001, the World Rugby Awards – awarded by World Rugby, the global governing board for Rugby Union – has always aimed to showcase and celebrate the formidable level of sportsmanship essential to the game.

The evening was a superb celebration of success both on and off the pitch; Beauden Barrett and Portia Woodman were crowned World Rugby Men’s and Women’s Player of the Year 2017 respectively, with Barrett winning for the second year in a row, an accomplishment only achieved once before by Barrett’s fellow countryman, NZ player Richie McCaw (2009 / 2010).

“I’m very proud and surprised. I wanted to be better than last year and I still think I have plenty more to go. The Lions series put us under the most pressure I have probably felt in a black jersey and that’s a credit to the Lions. We learnt a lot from that series, particularly taking that into the World Cup. When I hang the boots up, that’s when I can look back and be really proud of this. I’ve got to thank my team. I am just one player amongst a great team.” – Barrett

Proving that the All Blacks are still the tour de force within the Rugby community, World Rugby Team of the Year was awarded to the New Zealand Women’s 15s following their 5th World Cup win this August.

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It was with great pleasure that Force One accepted a role in providing the branding of this event, showcasing the firm’s capabilities to provide world-class products on a global stage.

World Rugby Men’s Player of the Year in association with Mastercard

Beauden Barrett (New Zealand)

World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year in association with Mastercard

Portia Woodman (New Zealand)

World Rugby Team of the Year

New Zealand Women’s 15s

World Rugby Coach of the Year

Eddies Jones (England)

World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year in association with TUDOR

Rieko Ioane (New Zealand)

World Rugby Men’s Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC

Perry Baker (USA)

World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC

Michaela Blyde (New Zealand)

World Rugby Referee Award

Joy Neville (Ireland)

Award for Character

Eduardo Oderigo (Argentina)

Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service

Marcel Martin (France)

IRPA Try of the Year

Joaquin Tuculet (Argentina, v England)

IRPA Special Merit Award

Richie McCaw (New Zealand)

and Rachael Burford (England)

© World Rugby / Getty Images