Close sidebar

Keith Wood tried to avoid ceremony where he was crowned player of the year

Keith Wood

Keith Wood has revealed that he tried to avoid going to the ceremony where he was announced as the inaugural World Rugby player of the year.

Three Irish players have been named as the World Rugby men’s 15s player of the year as of Sunday, as Josh van der Flier joined Wood and Johnny Sexton in picking up the sport’s most prestigious individual award.

Wood was one of five players nominated for the award back in 2001, alongside Ireland team mate Brian O’Driscoll, England’s Jonny Wilkinson and Australia duo George Gregan and George Smith.

Speaking on Off The Ball, Wood revealed that he was so certain that he wouldn’t win the award that he actually tried to get out of going to the ceremony.

Keith Wood on being named as world player of the year.

“I tried not to go. I was absolutely shattered. I think we played New Zealand the day before and all I wanted to do was go home to Killaloe,” Wood revealed.

“I said no to going three or four times. It was the first time and I’ll admit the confusion of this but I’m not a huge fan of individual awards for a team game.

“I like having it, but equally I think it’s hard to pick one player when you’re operating in a team. I was trying not to go, but the IRFU persuaded me, whether they knew or not, I’m not sure.

“I was sitting with Brian O’Driscoll, he was on the shortlist as well, and we were waiting for the guys to talk about who it was, and I had not put one thought into it, that I was going to win. I thought Brian actually was going to win.

“Even though I didn’t want to be there, I was kind of happy to be there then because I thought he was going to get it. I was totally taken off guard. I don’t know what I said when I went up there, but I talked pure rubbish, there was nothing prepared.”

Irish players have done well over the years.

Ireland’s tally of three wins in the World Rugby player of the year award is surpassed only by New Zealand, as Richie McCaw, Dan Carter, Beauden Barrett, Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick have won the award 10 times between them.

Three South Africans and three French players have also won, while England’s Jonny Wilkinson and Wales’ Shane Williams are the sole winners for their countries.

Brian O’Driscoll and Jamie Heaslip have both been nominated for the award, although neither got the nod in the end.

Read More About: ,