Ireland’s Andy Farrell named World Rugby Coach of the Year

Five Irish players named in the World Rugby Dream Team, while New Zealand’s Ardie Savea is named as Player of the Year

Ireland’s head coach Andy Farrell has won World Coach of the Year in the World Rugby awards.

Ireland won all but one game in 2023, winning the Six Nations and the Grand Slam and beating Rugby World Cup champions South Africa in the Pool Stage of the World Cup - unfortunately the one loss occurred during the World Cup quarter-finals, 28-24 against New Zealand.

Nevertheless, the Englishman has been rewarded for his work in a memorable year for Irish rugby. Farrell, who was not in Paris to accept the award, saw off competition from South Africa’s Jacques Nienaber, New Zealand’s Ian Foster and Fiji’s Simon Raiwalui.

New Zealand loose forward Ardie Savea was named World Rugby Men’s 15s Player of the Year, despite ending up on the losing side in Saturday’s Rugby World Cup final.


Savea was chosen ahead of Irish centre Bundee Aki, South Africa lock Eben Etzebeth and France captain Antoine Dupont, who won the award two years ago. Savea is the 11th All Black to win the award, which was first introduced in 2001. He had been a finalist in 2019.

His award comes after a stellar season in which he helped New Zealand to win the Rugby Championship and a place in the World Cup final, which they lost 12-11 to the Springboks on Saturday.

Aki is one of five Irish players who have been named in World Rugby’s Dream Team for 2023 – along with Dan Sheehan, Tahdg Furlong, Caelan Doris and Garry Ringrose. Surprisingly, only one player from World Cup winners South Africa makes the team – lock Eben Etzebeth.

Duhan van der Merwe’s solo finish against England was named the try of the year. Mark Tele’a of New Zealand was named breakthrough player of the year.

World Rugby Dream Team: Thomas Ramos; Damian Penaud, Bundee Aki, Garry Ringrose, Will Jordan; Richie Mo’unga, Antoine Dupont; Cyril Baille, Dan Sheehan, Tadhg Furlong; Eben Etzebeth, Scott Barrett; Charles Ollivon, Ardie Savea, Caelan Doris.

David Gorman

David Gorman

David Gorman is a sports journalist with The Irish Times