World Rugby Awards

'Whirlwind of pride': Black Ferns' Ruby Tui and Ruahei Demant win big at the World Rugby Awards

"We had a great bunch of girls who put their heart and soul on the line for everyone."

The Black Ferns won some top prizes at the spectacular Rugby Awards ceremony in Monaco this morning. 

Captain Ruahei Demant was selected player of the year, and Ruby Tui was voted best breakthrough player.

Demant, the first-five who led her team to a thrilling World Cup final win over England at Eden Park said: "I come from a very small place and to be able to put on the black jersey was always a dream but I never thought I'd play for the Black Ferns as a kid. 

“Like most women my age now, women's rugby was never accessible, was never something you could aspire to because you never had role models you could look up to.” 

She continued: "That was one of the great things about this World Cup, it was free to air so everyone could watch it, and people could turn on the telly or go to the games and see people that looked like them. There were so many strong women out there doing amazing things."

"We had a great bunch of girls who put their heart and soul on the line for everyone regardless of whether or not we were playing. We got the job done and we had a lot of fun doing it."

Tui was also present at the awards ceremony and shared her pride in being able to represent New Zealand in a sport that she loves.

The former sevens star, who wowed crowds with her personality and performance on and off the field accepted her award by saying: “It's amazing to be here, it's a whirlwind, I'm so proud of New Zealand. It's such an honour to win this award, at 27 and a half years old, I think I've set a record for the rookie.”

Tui was also presented with a replacement World Cup champions' medal after handing her gold medal to a young fan who recently beat Leukemia.

We’re so proud of these women and the way they are changing the path for women in sports. It’s a well-deserved win for all!

Nga Mihi.