Newly crowned World Champions South Africa dominated the World Rugby Awards that was held in Tokyo on Sunday.
Springboks lock Pieter-Steph du Toit has overcome challenges from his team-mate Cheslin Kolbe, Wales skipper Alun Wyn Jones, England's Tom Curry, New Zealand's Ardie Saveava and USA's Joe Taufete’e to win the World Rugby Player of the Year. He also becomes the third South African player to claim the award after Schalk Burger (2004) and Bryan Habana (2007).
“To my team-mates and our coaching staff, everyone here tonight said it is a team sport and I can’t emphasise it more. To my team-mates, the friendship we made over these last few months is unbelievable and for me personally it is a massive honour for me to accept this award," he said.
“I think if the players around you play good rugby as well and you have got good coaching staff around you and you set your standards a bit higher it is just the way your life goes forward.
"It is an unbelievable feeling and the Springboks mean so much to me, I can’t describe it.”
South Africa, who claimed the Rugby Championship title earlier this year and a World Cup victory have been named the Team of the Year while Rassie Erasmus went on to win the Coach of the Year Award.
England's Emily Scarratt went on to win the Women’s Player of the Year while France's Romain Ntamack claimed the World Rugby Breakthrough of the Year Award.
“This has been a very special year for rugby, culminating in one of the great Rugby World Cup," said World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont.
“All of the nominees should be very proud, but Pieter-Steph du Toit and Emily Scarratt have been outstanding this year and thoroughly deserve their accolade.
“They have not just demonstrated their excellence on the field, but they are also superb ambassadors for the game and an inspiration for a new generation of players and fans.”
Fiji's Jerry Tuwai and New Zealand's Ruby Tui went on to win the Men's and Women's Sevens Player of the Year awards respectively with World Rugby Referee Award going to England's Wayne Barnes.