Castres scrum-half Rory Kockott was voted Top 14 Player of the 2012/13 season by his fellow professionals at an awards ceremony in Paris on Monday.
The 27-year-old South African beat Clermont duo French centre Wesley Fofana and former All Black wing Sitiveni Sivivatu.
Kockott sparkled for Castres last season as the Top 14's leading points-scorer with 376 points - Jonny Wilkinson scored 373 - and inspired his club to a surprise run to the championship final where they beat European champions Toulon 19-14.
The Castres squad also received an award while Fofana was compensated with French international player of the year, he was one of the few French players to shine, especially a superb individual try in the loss to England, during a woeful Six Nations campaign which saw them finish bottom.
Julien Caminati was named Player of the season from the second tier Pro D2, reward for his performances in Brive's promotion back to the Top 14, although he has since signed for their rivals Grenoble.
Mathieu Raynal got the referee's prize, the 32-year-old given some reason to smile after suffering a double fracture of the leg during March's match between Montpellier and Racing-Metro.