World Rugby Awards: Pieter-Steph Du Toit & Emily Scarratt named players of the year
South Africa's Pieter-Steph du Toit and England's Emily Scarratt were named as Players of the Year at the World Rugby Awards in Japan.
Flanker Du Toit was part of the Rugby World Cup final win over England on Saturday. His team also won their first Rugby Championship in August.
Centre Scarratt started four matches in England's Women's Six Nations Grand Slam on her return from the sevens.
Team-mates Katy Daley-McLean and Sarah Bern were also on the shortlist.
Du Toit, who made more tackles than any other Springbok in their successful World Cup campaign, beat England's Tom Curry, Wales' Alun Wyn Jones, New Zealand's Ardie Savea, United States hooker Joe Taufetee and his own team-mate Cheslin Kolbe to win the men's award.
His success followed South Africa being named team of the year and their coach Rassie Erasmus picking up the coach of the year accolade.
|Recent World Rugby Awards winners|
|Men's 15s player of the year||Women's 15s player of the year|
|2018||Johnny Sexton (Ire)||Jessy Tremouliere (Fra)|
|2017||Beauden Barrett (NZ)||Portia Woodman (NZ)|
|2016||Beauden Barrett (NZ)||Sarah Hunter (Eng)|
|2015||Dan Carter (NZ)||Kendra Cocksedge (NZ)|
Scarratt said that the re-introduction of professional contracts for the England Women's team, after funding had controversially been switched to funding sevens after the 2017 World Cup, had helped improve both her and her team's performances.
"We got professional contracts that gave some of the girls that had not been part of the sevens team the chance to train full-time. As everyone knows that makes such a huge difference," said Scarratt,
"We don't chase after individual accolades in a team sport, but it's pretty cool for sure."
Romain Ntamack, who started three of France's four games at the Rugby World Cup at fly-half, won the breakthrough player of the year award.
The 20-year-old, whose father Emile won 46 caps between 1994 and 2000, made his senior debut in February after helping the nation's under-20 team lift their age-grade world title the previous summer.
England wing Joe Cokanasiga and South Africa scrum-half Herschel Jantjies were also on the shortlist.
TJ Perenara's score in New Zealand's pool-stage win over Namibia was named as the try of the year, while England's Wayne Barnes won the night's referee award.