Brian O’Driscoll received the International Rugby Players Association Special Merit Award at the World Rugby Awards in London on Sunday.

O’Driscoll received the award along with Australia’s Nathan Sharpe. The two former test captains each represented their country more than 100 times.

O’Driscoll played 186 games for Leinster and 141 tests for Ireland from 1999-2014, and retired as the most-capped player in test history.

Sharpe was a Rugby World Cup runner-up in 2003, just a decade after making his debut and he bowed out a decade later with 116 caps to his name.

Leinster and Ireland’s Sophie Spence was also nominated for the World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year Award. Spence played a key role in the second row for Ireland during this year’s triumphant Six Nations campaign.

The other nominees were France captain Gaélle Mignot and New Zealand scrum-half Kendra Cocksedge, with the award ultimately going to the Kiwi, Cocksedge.

Tweeting after the event, Spence said: “Massive thank you to everyone for their support! Huge honour to be nominated and a part of an amazing weekend.”


World Rugby Award Winners

World Rugby Player of the Year in association with MasterCard – Daniel Carter, New Zealand
World Rugby Team of the Year – New Zealand
World Rugby Coach of the Year – Michael Cheika, Australia
World Rugby Women’s Player of the Year – Kendra Cocksedge, New Zealand
World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year – Nehe Milner-Skudder, New Zealand
World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year in association with HSBC – Werner Kok, South Africa
World Rugby Women’s Sevens Player of the Year – Portia Woodman, New Zealand
World Rugby Referee Award – Nigel Owens
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service – Nigel Starmer-Smith
Award for Character in association with Land Rover – Pakistan Rugby Union
Rugby World Cup Best Match Moment – Japan (v South Africa, RWC 2015)
IRPA Special Merit Award – Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland) and Nathan Sharpe (Australia)
IRPA Try of the Year – Julian Savea, New Zealand (v France)