– England’s Simon Middleton has become the first coach of a women’s team to win World Rugby Coach of the Year, the sport’s governing body announced on Tuesday.
Middleton guided England’s “Red Roses” to their third successive Six Nations title in April and the team finished the year with an unbeaten record, winning 18 tests in a row.
Middleton beat competition from Australia men’s head coach Dave Rennie, New Zealand men’s head coach Ian Foster as well as Zealand women’s sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney.
Twice world champions England are the top-ranked women’s team and among the favourites at next year’s World Cup in New Zealand.
All Blacks winger Will Jordan was named the “Breakthrough Player of the Year”, thanks to his record of 15 tries in 11 tests this year.