Kieran Read named fans' favourite player
ESPN Staff
December 20, 2013
New Zealand's Kieran Read fends South Africa's Willem Alberts, South Africa v New Zealand, Rugby Championship, Freedom Cup, Ellis Park, Johannesburg, October 5, 2013
Kieran Read enjoyed a dominant year in 2013 © Getty Images

Kieran Read has won another rugby players accolade, the All Blacks No.8 claiming the Ultimate Rugby International Rugby Players' Association (IRPA) Fans Awards after previously being named International Rugby Board World Player of the Year and New Zealand Player of the Year.

Read won the nomination from Leigh Halfpenny and Sean O'Brien, having previously also been named IRPA's first Ultimate Rugby Players' Player of the Year and taking a place in the players' World XV of the Year.

Fans took a different view to the players, however, when it came to naming their World XV, with only five All Blacks in the team: back-rowers Read, Richie McCaw and Liam Messam, fly-half Dan Carter and centre Conrad Smith. The fans' world XV featured six changes from the players' team, predominantly in the backs. The fans preferred Israel Folau to Ben Smith at right wing, Jean de Villiers to Wesley Fofana at inside centre, Carter for Aaron Cruden at fly-half, Will Genia for Aaron Smith at scrum-half, McCaw for Sam Warburton at openside, and Alun-Wyn Jones to Sam Whitelock at second-row

IRPA officials said tens of thousands of rugby fans voted for their Player of the Year and World XV via the Ultimate Rugby app, as part of IRPA's first annual awards ceremony.

Fans' World XV of the Year: Leigh Halfpenny (Wales); Israel Folau (Australia), Conrad Smith (NZ), Jean de Villiers (South Africa), George North (Wales); Dan Carter (NZ), Will Genia (Australia); Kieran Read (NZ), Richie McCaw (New Zealand), Liam Messam (NZ); Alun-Wyn Jones (Wales), Eben Etzebeth (South Africa); Adam Jones (Wales), Bismarck de Plessis (South Africa), Alex Corbisiero (England)

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