'She was a dominant force' - Black Ferns star Portia Woodman named in 2017 World XV

Black Ferns winger Portia Woodman has been included in a world rugby team of the year with five other New Zealand stars.

Woodman was the only female player to make the 2017 team judged by rugby website Planet Rugby.

The World Cup champion Woodman cemented the right wing position, joining a backline which included All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane (left wing) and the World Rugby player of the year Beauden Barrett at first-five.

The Black Ferns winger says coach Glenn Moore settled the team down after they entered the shed losing 10-17 at halftime. Source: 1 NEWS

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read was selected as No.8 with Sam Cane named at openside flanker and Sam Whitelock also included in the forward pack at lock.

Planet Rugby praised Woodman for her efforts in the 2017 season: "Thirteen tries meant Woodman was not only the top try scorer but also the top points scorer at the Women's Rugby World Cup, helping her side to the title.

"She was a dominant force in every game except the final but the Black Ferns managed to come out on top without her scoring, beating England in Belfast. Woodman won the World Rugby Women's Player of the Year award and rightly so after an incredible campaign."

Woodman won the best try of the year award at the NZ Rugby awards with the Black Ferns taking out the top prize of team of the year at the World Rugby and NZ Rugby awards.

The Planet Rugby XV – 2017:

15. Stuart Hogg (British and Irish Lions, Scotland), 14. Portia Woodman (Black Ferns), 13. Jonathan Davies (British and Irish Lions, Wales), 12. Owen Farrell (British and Irish Lions, England), 11. Rieko Ioane (All Blacks), 10. Beauden Barrett (All Blacks), 9. Conor Murray (British and Irish Lions, Ireland), 8. Kieran Read (All Blacks), 7. Sam Cane (All Blacks), 6. Siya Kolisi (Springboks), 5. Sam Whitelock (All Blacks), 4. Maro Itoje (British and Irish Lions, England), 3. Tadhg Furlong (British and Irish Lions, Ireland), 2. Malcolm Marx (Springboks), 1. Mako Vunipola (British and Irish Lions, England).

2017 Women's Rugby World Cup Semi-Final, Kingspan Stadium, Belfast 22/8/2017
New Zealand vs USA
New Zealand's Portia Woodman on her way to scoring a try 
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Bryan Keane / www.photosport.nz
New Zealand's Portia Woodman on her way to scoring a try during the Women's Rugby World Cup semi-final against USA at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Source: Photosport


Kieran Read out, Vaea Fifita recalled for All Blacks' trip to Argentina

All Blacks captain Kieran Read will miss his side's Rugby Championship clash with Argentina in Buenos Aires, with Wellington flanker Vaea Fifita called in as a replacement.

Read, 32, will be sent straight to South Africa, missing the All Blacks' Argentinian leg of their Rugby Championship campaign, coach Steve Hansen confirmed to media at Auckland Airport today.

"The original plan was always to make sure we don't have him sitting in a plane too long," Hansen began.

"When you go to Argentina then to South Africa, short turnaround, and not a great ride from Argentina to South Africa.

"The smart play is to leave him at home and send him straight to Africa."

Read's absence sees Vaea Fifita return to the side, having originally been overlooked for the All Blacks' Rugby Championship campaign, with the Wellington flanker controversially stating that he didn't understand why he'd been dropped.

"He's always been on our mind," Hansen said of Fifita.

"We've given him the task of going and playing some Mitre 10 Cup, he's done that.

"With Reado not coming we need a replacement, he's the obvious man."

The All Blacks' newest weapon sat out of practice with a sore shoulder today. Source: 1 NEWS



'I'm sure we'll see his game go to even greater heights' - All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs long term deal with NZ Rugby

Star winger Rieko Ioane has committed to the All Blacks for four more years in a significant win for New Zealand Rugby.

The 21-year-old, who has scored 18 tries from 18 Tests, was the subject of intense offshore club interest but has chosen to remain put at his Super Rugby team the Blues.

His deal is the longest of any current All Black, taking him to the end of 2022.

Ioane was last year crowned World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year and was also a nominee for the main award.

His electric pace and nose for the tryline has been a key element for the world champions, most notably on last year's tour of Europe when he single-handedly proved the difference in Test wins over Scotland and Wales.

"I want to give it my best shot at serving the black jersey and, hopefully, I'll get the chance to play at the Rugby World Cup in the future. That's a huge motivator for me," he said.

Akira Ioane was an unlucky exclusion from Steve Hansen's squad this morning.
Source: 1 NEWS

Ioane's older brother Akira, 23, has also extended his NZ Rugby contract, until 2021.

The powerful Blues No.8 is yet to be capped but played a midweek match for the All Blacks in France last November.

Both brothers are former New Zealand sevens stars who are regarded by All Blacks coach Steve Hansen as among the country's premier young players.

"With his growing maturity and growth in his game understanding, I'm sure we'll see Rieko's game go to even greater heights," Hansen said.

"Akira is also an immense talent who has a bright future in our national game and we congratulate him on his decision as well."

(L to R) Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane,
All Blacks training session ahead of the upcoming test series against France. Alexandra Park. Auckland, New Zealand. Tuesday 22 May 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
Rieko Ioane and Akira Ioane during an All Blacks training session in Auckland. Source: Photosport



All Blacks star Rieko Ioane signs four year deal with NZ Rugby

All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane has signed a new four-year deal with New Zealand Rugby today.

The 21-year-old was named World Rugby's breakout player of the year in 2017 and has been outstanding for the national side since making his debut in 2016.

Brother Akira also signed a new three-year deal with NZ Rugby.

Rieko has scored 18 tries in 18 Tests, including a double against South Africa in Wellington last week in the All Blacks' 36-34 loss.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said it was "fantastic news for New Zealand Rugby. Rieko is a young player with undoubted talent who has already achieved wonderful things on the international stage."

Rieko said he felt "incredibly privileged to get the opportunity to play my rugby here for another four years." He said playing at a World Cup was "a huge motivator for me."

All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster said last month that Rieko is key player for the future.

"He's a vital component of our plan going forward," said Foster.

"I can't speak highly enough about him. He came in with a bit of a swagger and he has learned about the All Blacks.

"What I like is he has got real maturity about him, he hasn't got ahead of himself, and he quietly goes about his work."

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The new deal will see Rieko stay in New Zealand until the end of 2022 with Akira signed until the end of 2021.

"He's learning how to prepare better and better every test match, and when he goes out and plays he seems to enjoy doing what he's done since he was a kid. As long as we can keep him in that mode it's really exciting."

Rieko Ioane scores his second try.
New Zealand All Blacks v South Africa Springboks. Rugby Championship test match. Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand. Saturday 15 September 2018. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz
All Blacks winger Rieko Ioane scores his second try against the Springboks. Source: Photosport


Wallabies star Israel Folau wins Waratahs MVP award despite controversial year

Superstar fullback Israel Folau has won the Matthew Burke Cup, the NSW Waratahs players' players award.

The Wallabies back polled 99 votes, to finish ahead of captain and openside flanker Michael Hooper (77), backrower Michael Wells (71) and inside centre Kurtley Beale (65).

Votes were cast on a 3-2-1 basis by members of each match day squad after the Waratahs Super Rugby games.

Wells won the Waratahs best forward award and Beale took out the gong for their best back.

The NSW women's player of the year was veteran back Ash Hewson, who captained her state to the inaugural Super W title.

SYDNEY, NSW - MARCH 18: Waratahs player Israel Folau (14) looks towards the scoreboard at round 5 of the Super Rugby between Waratahs and Rebels at Allianz Stadium in Sydney on March 18, 2018. (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire)
Waratahs player Israel Folau. Source: Photosport