AUCKLAND (Reuters) - France captain Thierry Dusautoir was named on Monday as the International Rugby Board's World Player of the Year after a storming 12 months in which he drove his side to within a whisker of their first World Cup title on Sunday.
The 29-year-old loose forward was named man of the match in the final, which was won 8-7 by the hosts New Zealand to give them their second Webb Ellis trophy.
"It's great for me. I would like to thank everyone," Dusautoir told guests at the awards dinner, which was broadcast live in New Zealand.
It was the first time Dusautoir had won the award and he succeeds All Blacks captain Richie McCaw, who is the only player to have won the award more than once. McCaw has won it three times.
Three World Cup-winning All Blacks, blindside flanker Jerome Kaino, inside center Ma'a Nonu and scrumhalf Piri Weepu, had also been nominated for the player of the year award.
Other nominees included Australian flanker David Pocock and scrumhalf Will Genia, who must have been close to clinching the award after he helped the Queensland Reds to their first Super rugby title and the Wallabies to the Tri-Nations crown.
New Zealand's Graham Henry was named Coach of the Year for the fifth time, while the All Blacks, were named Team of the Year, also for the fifth time.
The IRB also inducted four administrators who drove through the establishment of the rugby World Cup, each of the captains and coaches who have won the tournament from 1987 until 2007, and four players who have made an impact on the tournament into their Hall of Fame.
Former All Blacks skipper Jock Hobbs, who is battling leukemia, won the Vernon Pugh award for distinguished service.
Hobbs, who was also chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union until he stepped down last year, led the bid team that secured the hosting rights of the 2011 World Cup.
"When the team won the bid it was a very proud day to be a Kiwi," Hobbs said.
"A huge responsibility, but we would not let the IRB down and with so much work of everyone around the country we have achieved that. That's enormously satisfying."
Player of the year: Thierry Dusautoir (France)
Team of the year: New Zealand
Coach of the year: Graham Henry (New Zealand)
Junior player of the year: George Ford (England)
Sevens player of the year: Cecil Afrika (South Africa)
IRPA try of the year: Radike Samo (Australia)
Spirit of rugby award: Wooden Spoon Charity
Women's personality of the year: Ruth Mitchell (Hong Kong Rugby Union)
IRPA special merit award: George Smith (Australia)
Referee award for distinguished service: Keith Lawrence (New Zealand)
Vernon Pugh award for distinguished service: Jock Hobbs (New Zealand)
Development award: Rookie rugby (USA Rugby)
(Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Patrick Johnston)