France captain Thierry Dusautoir, who scored his team's only try in its 8-7 loss to New Zealand in the Rugby World Cup final, was named the International Rugby Board's player of the year on Monday.
Dusautoir, man of the match in France's 8-7 loss Sunday, was the only northern hemisphere representative on the six-player short list for the award that included three All Blacks and two Australians.
The IRB announced the honour at a banquet where New Zealand was named team of the year and the All Blacks' Graham Henry coach of the year for guiding the nation to its first World Cup win in 24 years.
Dusautoir, who made 22 tackles in the final, is the second player from France to win the award after former captain Fabien Galthie in 2002.
Scrumhalf Piri Weepu, flanker Jerome Kaino and centre Ma'a Nonu, who played for New Zealand against Dusautoir in the final, were also on the player of the year short list, as were flanker David Pocock and scrumhalf Will Genia of Australia.
The winners were selected by an independent panel of judges chaired by former Australia captain John Eales and other former internationals with more than 500 caps among them. The panel deliberated on every major test match played in 2011, starting with the first Six Nations match and finishing with the Rugby World Cup final.
In other awards announced Monday, South Africa's Cecil Afrika was named IRB Sevens player of the year and George Ford of Leicester, a member of the England under-20 team that made it to the final of the 2011 junior world championships, was named junior player of the year.
Radike Samo, Australia's 35-year-old backrower, was awarded try of the year for his lengthy score in the final match of the Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup in Brisbane that was won 25-20 by the Wallabies.
The Fijian-born Samo received the ball on his own 10-metre line and shrugged off several All Black defenders before outsprinting the cover defence to score.
Former New Zealand Rugby Union chairman and All Black Jock Hobbs, who has been battling cancer, was winner of the Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service. In December of last year, Hobbs stepped down from his position as chairman of both the NZRU and Rugby New Zealand 2011 Limited due to his illness.
The award is named after the former IRB chairman from Wales who guided rugby into the professional era.
The IRB Development Award was presented to USA Rugby's Rookie Rugby program for young players between six and 12 years in schools and community- and state-based rugby programs.
Former All Black star Jonah Lomu was among 19 inductees into the IRB Hall of Fame which included the winning coach and captain of every World Cup-winning team from 1987 to 2007.