Wallabies full back Kurtley Beale has picked up the prestigious John Eales Australian player of the year award.
Beale claimed the award ahead of hooker Stephen Moore, with David Pocock, new Wallabies captain lock James Horwill and Reds scrum-half Will Genia rounding off the top five nominations for the award.
The newly signed Melbourne Rebels man claimed 127 votes to Moore’s 122, while Pocock trailed behind with 100 votes and Horwill and Genia picked up 96 and 78 respectively.
Beale only made his debut in the green and gold of Australia at the start of 2010, but has enjoyed a meteoric rise to success and is expected to play a key part in his country’s charge for World Cup glory later this month.
He was crowned rookie of the year last season while also picking up the try of the year award and in the process earning a nomination for the IRB player of the year award.
Genia picked up the fans’ choice award ahead of Quade Cooper and Digby Ioane to put the icing on the cake of an excellent year so far.
The scrum-half was in outstanding form as he helped his club side claim the inaugural Super Rugby title, earning him a nomination for 2011 Super Rugby player of the year and Queensland player of the year.
The rookie of the year award went to Pat McCabe while veteran number eight Radike Samo,, who will be hopeful of wearing the Australian World Cup Shirt, won the try of the year award for his score against New Zealand in the Tri Nations decider last week.
The Wallabies will travel to New Zealand for the World Cup with renewed confidence having claimed their first Tri Nations title in ten years, and start their campaign for a third world crown against Italy.