New Zealand Rugby
'A wonderful moment for rugby and our country'
ESPN Staff
July 1, 2013
New Zealand's men and women celebrate their respective Rugby World Cup Sevens victories © IRB

The New Zealand Rugby Union has paid tribute their World Cup-winning Sevens sides and hailed 'an extraordinary moment in time for New Zealand rugby'.

IRB Sevens Players of the Year:

  • 2004: Simon Amor (England)
  • 2005: Orene Ai'i (New Zealand)
  • 2006: Uale Mai (Samoa)
  • 2007: Afeleke Pelenise (New Zealand)
  • 2008: DJ Forbes (New Zealand)
  • 2009: Ollie Phillips (England)
  • 2010: Mikaele Pesamino (Samoa)
  • 2011: Cecil Afrika (South Africa)
  • 2012: Tomasi Cama (New Zealand)
  • 2013: Tim Mikkelson (New Zealand)

New Zealand's men swept England aside 33-0 in the Melrose Cup decider at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday. Their victory followed that of New Zealand's women's team who triumphed with a 29-12 victory over Canada. As a result, New Zealand's men and women currently hold the World Cup in both forms of the game as well as the Sevens World Series titles.

Further success came with the news that Tim Mikkelson has been named as the International Rugby Board's Sevens Player of the Year, while Kayla McAlister has been awarded the women's prize.

"New Zealand Rugby is enormously proud of the success of our World Champion sevens teams," said chief executive Steve Tew. "The double triumph in Moscow was a wonderful moment for rugby and our country and reflected the enormous level of commitment and skill we bring to the game.

"To be crowned World Champions is a huge credit to the players and management who have trained so hard to win this pinnacle event.

"I want to especially acknowledge Tim Mikkelson and Kayla McAlister who are the IRB Sevens Players of the Year and Gillies Kaka and Portia Woodman who are the Players of the Tournament. All had superb seasons and World Cups.

"It is also worth reflecting that New Zealand is now World Champions in fifteens and sevens for both men and women. Our sevens teams are also World Series champions. This really is an extraordinary moment in time for New Zealand rugby."

Mikkelson saw off the challenge of England's Dan Norton and Fiji's Joji Raqamate to become the 10th recipient of the IRB award, and the fifth New Zealander after Orene Ai'i (2005), Afeleke Pelenise (2007), DJ Forbes (2008) and Tomasi Cama (2012).

Regarded by coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens, as the fittest member of his squad, Mikkelson was an ever-present throughout the season, playing in both the forwards and the backs and also stepping in as captain at the end of the season to lift the World Series trophy.

"It's a real honour to receive this award and I accept it on behalf of the team," said Mikkelson. "A couple of my teammates have won this award, which makes it really special. We've had a really good season and so I accept this on behalf of the team."

New Zealand Sevens veteran Tim Mikkelson has been named the IRB Sevens Player of the Year © Getty Images
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