Dan Carter has been named World Player of the Year at the World Rugby Awards held in London on Sunday.
The New Zealand fly-half capped off an outstanding year by scooping the award ahead of David Pocock (Australia), Julian Savea (New Zealand), Michael Hooper (Australia), Greig Laidlaw (Scotland) and Alun Wyn Jones (Wales).
Carter joins his All Blacks captain Richie McCaw as a three-time recipient of the prestigious accolade, having also been named Player of the Year in 2005 and 2012, and follows in the footsteps of other previous winners such as Thierry Dusautoir, Bryan Habana and Jonny Wilkinson.
New Zealand were named World Rugby Team of the Year after becoming the first nation to successfully defend the Webb Ellis Cup with a 34-17 defeat of Australia in the Rugby World Cup 2015 Final on Saturday.
Australia coach Michael Cheika received the World Rugby Coach of the Year accolade after transforming the Wallabies in his 12 months at the helm, guiding them to The Rugby Championship title and the RWC 2015 final.
Carter was named man of the match in the final after steering the All Blacks to victory, kicking 19 points including a drop goal and long-range penalty to halt the Australian fight-back.
The all-time leading point scorer in international rugby with 1,598 points to his name in 112 tests, Carter has been back to his best in recent weeks, inspired by the chance to play in a first Rugby World Cup final.
"It's a dream come true," said Carter.
"It's not why you play the game, for personal accolades, but at the same time it's very pleasing and a very proud moment because I've had to work extremely hard, especially these last two to three years with the injuries that I've had.
"To come out fighting on the other side and achieve what I've achieved personally, but also what the team has achieved, it has been a very special moment of my career."
The winners were selected by the Awards’ independent panel of judges, chaired by Rugby World Cup 1999-winning captain John Eales and made up of former internationals, media and the RWC 2015 participating teams.
The panel deliberated on every major test match played this year, starting with the first Six Nations match and finishing with the Rugby World Cup Final.
The Awards were a fitting finale to what World Rugby Chairman Bernard Lapasset described as “the best-ever Rugby World Cup” and was attended by all four semi-final teams and stars from sport and entertainment.
“The World Rugby Awards are a fitting finale to an exceptional year for rugby on and off the field," said Lapasset.
"On the back of the best-ever Rugby World Cup, we saw deserved accolades to those who starred in full and vibrant stadia over the past six weeks, while celebrating those who tireless and selfless efforts ensure that our sport enjoys the global success it does from the playground to the podium.
"Congratulations to all our recipients.”
Player of the Year: Dan Carter (NZ)
Team of the Year: New Zealand
Coach of the Year: Michael Cheika (AUS)
Breakthrough Player of the Year: Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ)
Referee of the Year: Nigel Owens
Try of the Year: Julian Savea (New Zealand v France, October 17)
Women's Player of the Year: Kendra Cocksedge (NZ)
Vernon Pugh Award for Distinguished Service: Nigel Starmer-Smith
Men's Sevens Player of the Year: Werner Kok (SA)
Women's Sevens Player of the Year: Portia Woodman (NZ)
Award for Character: Pakistan Rugby Union
IRPA Special Merit Awards: Nathan Sharpe and Brian O'Driscoll
Societe Generale Dream Team: 15 Ayumu Goromaru (JPN), 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder (NZ), 13 Conrad Smith (NZ), 12 Matt Giteau (AUS), 11 Julian Savea (NZ), 10 Dan Carter (NZ), 9 Greig Laidlaw (SCO), 8 David Pocock (AUS), 7 Schalk Burger (RSA), 6 Mamuka Gorgodze (GEO), 5 Leone Nakarawa (FJI), 4 Eben Etzebeth (RSA), 3 Ramiro Herrera (ARG), 2 Stephen Moore (AUS), 1 Marcos Ayerza (ARG)