WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND (AP) – Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and France star Jessy Trémoulière have been voted the men’s and women’s rugby players of the past decade.
Two-time World Cup-winner McCaw and Trémoulière, who has played both 15s and sevens for France since 2011, topped a worldwide public vote on the best male and female 15s players between 2010-2019.
Fiji’s Olympic sevens gold medalist Jerry Tuawai was voted the men’s sevens player of the decade, and New Zealand’s Portia Woodman was named women’s sevens player of the decade. Woodman also won the award for the women’s 15s best try.
“To be able to get an award like this is pretty humbling,” said McCaw, who led New Zealand to World Cup victories in 2011 and ‘15. “When you’re in a team sport you rely on a good bunch of teammates around you to have any sort of success, so I guess I was lucky for that. And, probably quite lucky (because) I only played half the decade.”
McCaw played a New Zealand-record 148 tests before retiring from international rugby after the 2015 World Cup.
Woodman credited her New Zealand teammates with her success.
“The girls do so much work, we go through so many sacrifices throughout our lives,” she said. “Even though you’ve been playing the game for nine years, you miss birthdays, you miss tangi (funerals), you miss seeing your whanau (family). But, it’s not necessarily a sacrifice for us. It’s a choice because we want to be where we are and living the dream.”
Woodman was one of six New Zealanders named in the world women’s 15 team of the decade. The others were Fiao’o Faamausili, Eloise Blackwell, Linda Itunu, Kendra Cocksedge and Kelly Brazier.
Eight English women were named to the team: Maggie Alphonsi, Rochelle Clark, Sophie Hemmings, Tamara Taylor, Katy Daley-Mclean, Emily Scarratt, Lydia Thompson and Danielle Waterman.
McCaw was one of seven past or present All Blacks named in the World Rugby men’s 15s Team of the Decade. Owen Franks, Brodie Retallick and Sam Whitelock joined their former captain in the forward pack, while Dan Carter, Ma’a Nonu and Ben Smith were named in the backs.
South Africa contributed three players with frontrowers Tendai Mtawarira and Bismarck du Plessis and winger Bryan Habana in the lineup. Ireland is represented by scrumhalf Conor Murray and centre Brian O’Driscoll, Australia by flanker David Pocock, Italy by number eight Sergio Parisse and Wales by winger George North,
“I never expected something like this, obviously it’s a huge honour,” Parisse said. “I thank World Rugby for this. It’s a really nice thing for my career, at the end, of course, of my career. The last 10 years were really exciting for me.”