New Zealand No 8 Kieran Read has been named the IRB Player of the Year after helping the All Blacks to a perfect season.
Read held off the challenges of Eben Etzebeth (South Africa), Leigh Halfpenny (Wales), Sergio Parisse (Italy) and Ben Smith (New Zealand) to become the third New Zealander to win the award.
IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "From a starting point of brilliance, Kieran Read has been improving steadily in recent years and is now, without question, a world-class player.
"His talent, work ethic and attitude make him an extremely valuable player for New Zealand and a formidable opponent for everyone else. Winning this award reflects a magnificent contribution to our game during 2013.
"I would like to congratulate those who were on a stellar shortlist. All thoroughly deserved their place and gave the panel a very difficult decision to make."
The World Cup winners looked sure to be denied their 14th and final victory of the season in Ireland - only for an Aaron Cruden conversion to silence Dublin with the last kick of a dramatic game.
Read was a towering presence for the Kiwis throughout the campaign in both the breakdown and in the loose. He took his tally of All Black tries to 15 with a crucial score against England.
The 28-year-old follows in the footsteps of current team-mates Dan Carter (2005 and 2012) and Richie McCaw (2006, 2009 and 2010).