Ireland's Johnny Sexton wins rugby's world player of year

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt to announce post-World Cup plans next week

Upon receiving the award, Dyantyi described his year as "more than a roller-coaster". I committed to a certain timeframe with them and I've stuck to that. We haven't peaked, so we're just getting better and hopefully we can continue to do that.

"To be honest I've beaten myself up enough about this decision. That is my ultimate goal".

"Despite his limited experience at global level‚ Aphiwe never looked out of place in the Springbok jersey and he made an immediate impact‚ scoring a try on debut for the Boks against England in June".

All Blacks assistant boss Ian Foster now looks a certainty to take over the New Zealand hotseat if Hansen vacates it.

"It's been very special, and a few of us have ended up here tonight".

He is the first Irish player to claim the coveted award since Keith Wood in 2001.

Fly-half Sexton also won two major competitions with Leinster - the Pro14 and European Rugby Champions Cup - to cap a phenomenal year.

He has been with Ireland since 2013 and this year guided them to their third Grand Slam and a first victory on home soil over New Zealand.

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Sexton was central to it all.

Best was called back to the stage to speak on behalf of Sexton who had lost his voice because of a throat infection.

Ireland's captain, Rory Best, read out Sexton's speech due to the award victor losing his voice.

"We are all clearly aware and thankful of the better place that Joe will be leaving Irish Rugby in post the Rugby World Cup".

"I'd also like to thank my wife Laura who has been with me from the start". We have three young kids and she does absolutely everything to allow me to concentrate on the day.

"On a personal level, I would like to thank Joe for his warmth, his time, honesty and his genuine interest in everything that we do in Irish Rugby to grow the game".

"I've given them [the IRFU] an indication and I just need to talk to people tomorrow, and early next week it will be made public", he told a news conference. "Any of them would have been a worthy victor".

Some have cast the relationship between Ireland coach Joe Schmidt and Johnny Sexton as like father and son - and the latter has from the outset been in the precocious category.

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