The other Irishman honoured was Tom Kiernan who was presented with the IRB Distinguished Service Award by Dr Syd Miller.
Three-hundred invited guests from across the globe, including many of the world's leading players, heard the announcement of a total of fifteen awards.
World and Tri-Nations champions, Australia, were the recipients of the International Team of the Year while their coach of that period, Rod Macqueen, won the International Coach of the Year.
The award winners were decided by a panel of ten judges, from five continents, under the chairmanship of former Welsh international, Gerald Davies and including Fergus Slattery
The full list of awards:
International Player of the Year, in association with Heineken: Keith Wood (Ireland).
International Team of the Year: Australia - presented by Lord Coe.
International Coach of the Year: Rod Macqueen (Australia) - presented by Chester Williams.
International Young Player of the Year: Gavin Henson (Wales) - presented by Philippe Sella.
International Women's Player of the Year: Shelley Rae (England) - presented by Gerald Davies.
International Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand - presented by Waisale Serevi.
Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Ed Morrison (England) - presented by Dickie Bird.
Spirit of Rugby Award: Tim Grandadge (India) - presented by Cliff Morgan.
Chairman's Award 1: Kath McLean (East Coast Province, New Zealand), Chairman's Award 2: Sir Terry McLean (New Zealand), Chairman's Award 3: Albert Farasse (France), Chairman's Award 4: John Eales (Australia) - all presented by Vernon Pugh QC.
Development Award 1: Uruguay - for work done in the development of a new national stadium - presented by Rob Fisher, Development Award 2: Jorge Brasceras (Argentina) - for coaching, training and development - presented by Agustin Pichot.
IRB Distinguished Service Award: Tom Kiernan (Ireland) - presented by Dr Syd Millar MBE.
The Judging Panel: Gerald Davies (Chairman of Judges, Wales), Paul Ackford (England), Sean Fitzpatrick (New Zealand), Simon Poidevin (Australia), Hugo Porta (Argentina), Gareth Rees (Canada), Philippe Sella (France), Fergus Slattery (Ireland), David Sole (Scotland), Chester Williams (South Africa).