IRB Player of the Year Kieran Read revealed his delight at scooping the award after a stellar season in the All Black pack.
The 28-year-old was a stand-out, scoring six tries from number eight as New Zealand recorded international rugby's first "perfect season" in the professional era, winning all of their 14 games.
And Read, who beat Wales' Leigh Halfpenny, Springbok Eben Etzebeth, Italian Sergio Parisse and Kiwi team-mate Ben Smith to the prize, says he feels humbled to receive such recognition.
"It's awesome," Read told Yahoo sport.
"I think pretty massive honour to get an award like this, all the players who have won it are greats of the game. So certainly it's pretty humbling."
But the Crusader, who took charge of the All Blacks when Richie McCaw was absent, was keen to play down his personal contribution to what he refers to as a "special season" for his team.
"It's fun playing rugby for the All Blacks ... that's what we've always done this for," Read told Radio Live Sport.
"It's a proud moment to get the recognition [of the award]. It was a great year for the All Blacks and it makes me feel really proud.
"Awards are just part and parcel of what you do on the pitch.
"Getting the opportunity to captain the ABs was awesome. I think that gives you confidence when you are out there on the field to lead and really play as best you can."
The number eight also paid tribute to boss Steve Hansen, who bagged the coach of the year award after guiding the Kiwis to their winning streak, and acknowledged the All Blacks must continue to improve upon their achievement.
"Steve backs his instincts and he's working really hard on his approach," added Read.
"He knows the right things to click guys in and make sure they are on the right path.
"You look at it, we have to improve. Over the times I've been here, if you stood still, teams will catch up.
"There are always improvements in this game to be made. It's hard ... the coaches will have a lot of time on their hands to try and create something new, but the basis of what we have done this year will hold us in pretty good stead."