'Speechless' Sexton humbled by award

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The awards capped a triumphant month for the squad, which included Ireland's first ever home win against the All Blacks.

On Sunday, in Monaco, it was Sexton's turn to soak up the acclaim as the brightest and best of rugby assembled under the one roof.

Schmidt has masterminded both of Ireland's victories over New Zealand, including Saturday's 16-9 win in Dublin, and guided his team from eighth to second in the world rankings in five years at the helm.

Ireland swept the board in the other major awards, with experienced flyhalf Jonny Sexton notably beating the Bok duo of Malcolm Marx and Faf de Klerk to the player-of-the-year award.

Johnny Sexton boots Ireland to a win. Pic AAP
Johnny Sexton boots Ireland to a win. Pic AAP

JOE SCHMIDT HAS strongly hinted that he will leave his position with Ireland next year, saying the IRFU have told him, "If you change your mind, we'd love to continue that conversation".

We have some of the best coaches in the world and are led superbly by Rory Best.

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

Joe Schmidt has announced that he will finish coaching following the Rugby World Cup in Japan next year.

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"Sport has the ability to lift people out of the day-to-day concerns of life and Joe, and his team, have provided historic moments of great joy, that will live long in the memories of everyone in the rugby family.

I want to say congrats to Sarah Goss who I've looked up to for many years, she is a player I strive to be like so this is for you sis", Blyde said after receiving the trophy.

Only yesterday, the New Zealand native was named World Rugby Coach of the Year 2018.

"I look at the nominees and any one of them would have been a worthy victor". "Anyone of them would have been a worthy victor".

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Springboks victor Aphiwe Dyanti was named Breakthrough Player of the Year and Australia's Angus Gardiner Referee of the Year.

The top players in rugby sevens were also recognised, with America's Perry Baker winning the Men's Sevens Player of the Year award.

The 33-year-old spearheaded Leinster's charge to a Pro14 and European Champions Cup double having steered Ireland to a Six Nations Grand Slam.

Former Wallabies skipper Stephen Moore and New Zealand Sevens legend DJ Forbes also earned special merit awards.

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