The International Rugby Board has named New Zealand captain Richie McCaw as the IRB Player of the Year.
The All Blacks captain scooped the top individual accolade at the IRB Awards held in Glasgow, Scotland.
The award night was a big one for New Zealand, with the All Blacks named IRB Team of the Year for the second consecutive year and head coach Graham Henry winning the IRB Coach of the Year award.
McCaw succeeds teammate Daniel Carter, who was short-listed for the top prize again this time.
New Zealand have been in outstanding form this season winning 19th consecutive Test matches, and will finish the year as the world's number one, having been ranked as such since June 2004.
The judging panel of former rugby legends with 503 caps between them including Jonathan Davies, Keith Wood, Will Greenwood and Fabien Galthie, and chaired by double Rugby World Cup winner John Eales.
All major Test matches during 2006 were considered with Australia's Chris Latham, South Africa's Fourie du Preez and Ireland lock Paul O'Connell all short-listed alongside McCaw and Carter for the prestigious award.
The IRB Awards also recognise the future stars of the Game and France's outstanding young fly half Lionel Beauxis was named IRB Under 21 Player of the Year after starring in his country's triumph in the Under 21 World Championship on home soil this year.
Australia's Josh Holmes was named IRB Under 19 Player of the Year after a string of outstanding performances for his country on the way to the Under 19 World Championship title in Dubai.