First World Rugby Awards 2021 winners unveiled as week of celebration kicks off

"VAN" (Sports Desk - 07.12.2021) :: The Referee Award, Men’s Try of the Year and Women’s Try of the Year have been awarded to Andrew Cole (Australia), Damian Penaud (France) and Emilie Boulard (France), respectively.

Winners of the prestigious accolades in the remaining nine categories will be announced throughout the week (6-10 December) on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).

Andrew Cole refereed 44 Super Rugby games and 31 test matches from 1997-2005. The Australian’s test debut was Samoa v Tonga in 1997 with his final test being Ireland v Romania eight years later. He also refereed the second test between New Zealand and the British and Irish Lions in 2005. Selected as a referee for Rugby World Cup 1999 and 2003, he was a referee selector from 2012 through RWC 2015. Cole was head coach of referees at Rugby Australia from 2010-17 and is a Life Member of the Queensland Rugby Referees’ Association.

Going from one 22 to another, France fashioned a score for the ages against Scotland in their delayed Six Nations matches at the Stade de France. Taking a quick tap from a marked box kick, full-back Brice Dulin set off on an electrifying run before finding Romain Ntamack and Arthur Vincent in support. Antoine Dupont swiftly transferred the ball away from the breakdown and Virimi Vakatawa drew the defence before offloading to Damian Penaud whose footballing skills – including a chip, case and dribble – took him over in the corner for a wonderful try.

Nominees: Lukhanyo Am (South Africa A, v British and Irish Lions on 14 July), Pierre-Louis Barassi (France, v Australia on 17 July), Luke Jacobson (New Zealand, v Argentina on 12 September)

Trailing 43-0 with under three minutes to play, Wales managed to clear their lines but only to near halfway where hat-trick scorer Caroline Boujard fielded the kick and immediately found Jessy Trémoulière. France worked the ball out to Emilie Boulard on the left wing, the debutant full-back finding Maëlle Filopon on the loop around to take play into the Welsh 22. The centre passed inside to Camille Imart, who drew the defence before passing back out to Boulard to go over in the corner.

Nominees: Sara Barattin (Italy, v Scotland on 13 September), Abby Dow (England, v France on 30 April), Romane Ménager (France, v Ireland on 17 April)

Six categories were open to an online public vote. From 15-21 November, rugby fans had the ability to select their deserving winner for World Rugby Men’s and Women’s 15s and Sevens Players of the Year as well as Men’s and Women’s Try of the Year on the Awards’ voting website.

The remaining six categories have been voted by the World Rugby Awards panel, a stellar team of rugby legends who had the hard task of selecting winners for the World Rugby Breakthrough, Coach and Referee awards as well as the newly created Men’s and Women’s 15s Dream Teams of 2021.


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