Johnny Sexton crowned World Player of the Year at World Rugby Awards 1 year ago

Johnny Sexton crowned World Player of the Year at World Rugby Awards

Another great night for Irish Rugby with Joe Schmidt named Coach of the Year and Ireland named Team of the Year.

A literally speechless Jonathan Sexton has been named Men's 15's World Player of the Year at the World Rugby Awards in Monaco.

The 33-year-old was the heavy favourite going into Sunday night's bash, and so it proved as he was crowned with the highest individual honour going.

Indeed, the smart money was on the fly-half following a year that took in the Pro14 and Champions Cup, a Grand Slam Six Nations, a Test series victory in Australia and Ireland's first ever home triumph over New Zealand.

Sexton bested an impressive field containing Beauden Barrett, Faf De Klerk, Rieko Ioane and Malcolm Marx to take home the most coveted accolade in Men's 15's rugby.

Rory Best delivered Sexton's speech on the player's behalf thanks to a nasty-sounding throat infection.

"I literally can't speak properly," said Sexton, doing his best.

Before Sexton was honoured, his coach Joe Schmidt was rightly highlighted for his own incredible efforts, while Ireland were named World Rugby Team of the Year.

Peter O'Mahony accepted the award on Schmidt's behalf, with the coach absent for family reasons.

Asked if Schmidt gave the team "full permission" to indulge with a night out following the New Zealand win, O'Mahony gave a knowing pause and hailed the team's professionalism before confirming that they "certainly had a few beers on the back of it."

"A lot of hard work goes in," said Rory Best when collecting the award that recognises Ireland as the best team in the world right now.

"It's a massive team effort. It's been an unbelievable 12 months for us," added the captain.

Earlier in the evening, South Africa's Aphiwe Dyantyi edged Jordan Larmour to the Breakthrough Player of the Year prize.

Sexton, Schmidt and the overall team's respective awards cap off a terrific year for Irish Rugby.

The last eight days alone brought a magnificent win over New Zealand that saw the likes of Bundee Aki, Conor Murray and Peter O'Mahony emerge as even more beloved figures than before, followed by a comfortable thrashing of the USA on Saturday.

O'Mahony, meanwhile, bolstered his growing glowing reputation with an appearance on Friday night's Late Late Show, where he spoke fondly of the late Anthony 'Axel' Foley.

He also told the touching story of giving his Six Nations medal away to a die-hard fan.

Sunday night, however, belonged to that man Johnny Sexton who stood tallest at the end of a long ceremony.

Congratulations to him and the team on their honours.