Let the debate begin: Richie McCaw, Portia Woodman claim gongs at World Rugby awards

Former All Blacks captain Richie McCaw and Black Fern Portia Woodman have headlined a stellar outing for New Zealand Rugby at this year's World Rugby Awards.

World Rugby adjusted this year's awards ceremony due to the Covid-19 pandemic, opting instead to celebrate the past decade of international rugby and stars.

New Zealand featured heavily throughout the online event, with former captain McCaw named men's 15s player of the decade.

McCaw beat fellow All Blacks Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett and Brodie Retallick to win the gong. Former French captain Thierry Dusatoir and Irish first-five Johnny Sexton were also finalists.

“To be able to get an award like this is pretty humbling,” McCaw, who captained the All Blacks to two World Cup titles in 2011 and 2015, said.

“When you’re in a team sport you rely on a good bunch of team-mates around you to have any sort of success, so I guess I was lucky for that. And, probably quite lucky [because] I only played half the decade.”

Woodman also took out a player of the decade award in the women's sevens division but was pipped for the women's 15s prize by France's Jessy Tremouliere.

Woodman did manage to walk away with a second award as she took home women's 15s try of the decade for her stunning run in 2017 against the US.

Woodman paid homage to all those who have had to make tough choices for their career and country - especially in the women's game.

“The girls do so much work, we go through so many sacrifices throughout our lives," Woodman said.

“Even though you’ve been playing the game for nine years, you miss birthdays, you miss tangi, you miss seeing your whānau. But, it’s not necessarily a sacrifice for us, it’s a choice because we want to be where we are and living the dream.”

The other two major individual awards went to Fiji's Jerry Tuwai [men's sevens] and Irishman Jamie Heaslip [men's 15s try].

In the teams of the decade, both McCaw and Woodman featured alongside a hefty number of their teammates.

In the men's side, McCaw was joined by Owen Franks, Retallick, Sam Whitelock, Carter, Ma'a Nonu and Ben Smith while Fiao'o Faamausili, Eloise Blackwell, Linda Itunu, Kendra Cocksedge and Kelly Brazier all joined Woodman in the women's team.

World Rugby Awards Special Edition

Men's XVs Player of the Decade: Richie McCaw (New Zeland)

Women's XVs Player of the Decade: Jessy Tremouliere (France)

Men's Sevens Player of the Deacde: Jerry Tuwai (Fiji)

Women's Sevens Player of the Deacde: Portia Woodman (New Zealand)

Men's XVs Try of the Deacde: Jamie Heaslip (Ireland) 

Women's XVs Try of the Decade: Portia Woodman (New Zealand)

Men's XVs Team of the Decade: 1-Tendai Mtawarira (SA), 2-Mismarck Du Plessis (SA), 3-Owen Franks (NZ), 4-Brodie Retallick (NZ), 5-Sam Whitelock (NZ), 6-David Pocock (AUS), 7-Richie McCaw (NZ), 8-Sergio Parisse (ITA), 9-Conor Murray (IRE), 10-Dan Carter (NZ), 11-Bryan Habana (SA), 12-Ma'a Nonu (NZ), 13-Brian O'Driscoll (IRE), 14-George North (WAL), 15-Ben Smith (NZ) 

Women's XVs Team of the Decade: 1-Rochelle Clark (ENG), 2-Fiao'o Fa'amasuisli (NZ), 3-Sophie Hemming (ENG), 4-Eloise Blackwell (NZ), 5-Tamara Taylor (ENG), 6-Linda Itunu (NZ), 7-Maggie Alphonsi (ENG), 8-Safi N'Diaye (FRA), 9-Kendra Cocksedge (NZ), 10-Katy Daley-McLean (ENG), 11-Portia Woodman (NZ), 12-Kelly Brazier (NZ), 13-Emily Scarratt (ENG), 14-Lydia Thompson (ENG), 15-Danielle Waterman (ENG)