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Read wins top IRB gong

New Zealand have dominated the International Rugby Board awards with Kieran Read being crowned player of the year.

The All Blacks, who won all 14 of their Tests in 2013, took team of the year and Steve Hansen was voted coach of the year to complete the World Cup holders' clean sweep.

Read has been outstanding at number eight throughout the past 12 months and has become the heartbeat of New Zealand's pack.

The 28-year-old was chosen ahead of fellow shortlist nominees Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny, South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth, Italy number eight Sergio Parisse and New Zealand centre Ben Smith.

He is the third All Black to be named player of the year, following on from Dan Carter (2005/2012) and Richie McCaw (2006/2009/2010).

New Zealand were crowned team of the year for the seventh time and Hansen coach of the year for the second year in succession.

"I'd like to congratulate Kieran on his award as it is well deserved," Hansen said.

"He has been outstanding and has been a major contributor all season. It's been a big year and I'm incredibly proud of what the boys have achieved.

"It's certainly special to have the All Blacks named for all three awards so it's important that we thank and acknowledge all those behind the team."

The winners of all three awards were chosen by a panel chaired by Australia's 1999 World-Cup winning captain John Eales and comprising of Will Greenwood, Gavin Hastings, Raphael Ibanez, Francois Pienaar, Agustín Pichot, Scott Quinnell, Tana Umaga and Paul Wallace.


From Belfast Telegraph