Carter, Hansen, All Blacks sweep IRB rugby awards
The All Blacks' dominant 2012 season was reflected at the International Rugby Board awards where they swept all three major prizes.
At the event on Tuesday (NZT), first five-eighth Dan Carter was crowned player of the year for the second time, Steve Hansen picked up the coach of the year honour while a record of 12 wins, one draw and one loss resulted in New Zealand being named team of the year for a third straight time.
Carter, 30, added to the award he won in 2005, seeing off the challenge of three other nominees, including All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, a three-time former winner. The other candidates were French first five-eighth Frederic Michalak and England counterpart Owen Farrell.
Hansen received Carter's award on his behalf and admitted he was fortunate to coach a team that featured he and veteran flanker McCaw at the same time.
"Dan brings a lot of experience, cool headedness and he can play a kicking game, a running game and he's a world-class player," Hansen said.
"This is the second time he's won it and there is only one other person who's done that and that's the guy he just headed off (McCaw)."
Carter bounced back from the injury that ruled him out of last year's World Cup triumph, but was below-par in a truncated Super Rugby campaign with the Crusaders and more injury issues saw him play in just nine of the 14 All Blacks Tests.
He landed a dropped goal in the last minute of the second Test against Ireland in Christchurch to snatch victory, and was at his dazzling best in last month's defeat of Scotland and Edinburgh.
Hansen downplayed his own prize, saying it reflected the hard work of the players and the rest of the team's management staff since he succeeded Sir Graham Henry.
The All Blacks swept Ireland 3-0 at home in June before winning all six Tests in the inaugural Rugby Championship.
They drew a third Bledisloe Cup Test against Australia in Brisbane before a four-Test tour of Europe ended with a shock 38-21 loss to England after comfortable wins over Scotland, Italy and Wales.
New Zealand Rugby Union Chairman Mike Eagle today congratulated the All Blacks, Hansen and vice-captain Dan Carter for winning all three major honours.
The All Blacks were named IRB Team of the Year for the sixth time, Steve Hansen, IRB Coach of the Year and Dan Carter, IRB Player of the Year for the second time.
"These are richly deserved honours which recognise the great success the team has enjoyed this past year," said Eagle. "In particular, these awards underline how well the All Blacks have responded to the challenge of being World Champions.
"Without a doubt the team has done the country proud during a year where they secured a clean sweep against Ireland in the Steinlager Series, won the inaugural Investec Rugby Championship and retained the Bledisloe Cup.
"As the team returns from the Air New Zealand European Tour, they do so knowing they delivered on and off the field to their fans around the world, having played an exciting brand of rugby and retained a winning record that remains the envy of their rivals.
"This international recognition shows the game is in good heart in this country and we can look forward to 2013 to continue our proud record of success at all levels of the game."