18 May, 11:09
IRFU Chief Executive Philip Browne has issued a statement following confirmation of Ronan O'Gara's decision to retire from playing professional rugby.
Depite the Springboks disappointment of losing to Ireland and England during their recent tour, they beat off Grand Slam-winners France, as well as high-achievers Portugal, to win IRB Team of the Year.
The glittering ceremony was attended by some of the great names of rugby's past and present including panellists Keith Wood and Dan Lyle, British Lions Manager Bill Beaumont and Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan.
Ireland also had representation in the nominations for the Under 21 Player of the Year category in the shape of Dublin University's Jamie Heaslip, who was beaten to the award by New Zealand's Jerome Kaino, whom he had faced in the Under 21 World Cup final in Scotland during the summer.
The Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished service, named after former IRB Chairman Vernon Pugh who passed away last year, went to former Ireland and Lion's captain Ronnie Dawson, who also went on to become President of the IRFU and has had a long and distinguished career in the administration of the game.
List of Award winners: Player of the Year: Schalk Burger (South Africa) Team of the Year: South Africa Coach of the Year: Jake White (South Africa) U19 Player of the Year: Jeremy Thrush (New Zealand) U21 Player of the Year: Jerome Kaino (New Zealand) Sevens Team of the Year: New Zealand Sevens Player of the Year: Simon Amor (England) Spirit of Rugby Award: Jarrod Cunnningham Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Ronnie Dawson Referee Award for Distinguished Service: Jim Fleming Women's Personality of the Year: Donna Kennedy Development Award: Guedel Ndiaye Chairman's Award: Marcel Martin