The breaking of a 24-year World Cup drought by the All Blacks and the reaching of the Investec Super Rugby Final by the nomadic Crusaders wasn’t enough to bring a historic maiden Laureus Award to New Zealand Rugby yesterday.
The prestigious sporting awards were held in London, and the All Blacks, who were considered a likely chance considering their historic 8-7 win over France, lost out to Football club Barcelona, who dominated Europe and claimed the Champion’s League.
The Crusaders, who were also nominated for comeback of the year alongside the Queensland Reds, lost out to Irish golfer Darren Clarke (who won the British Open), while Northern Ireland also picked up another golfing award with the US Open win by Rory McIIroy.
Sportsmen of the Year went to Novak Djokovic in Tennis, winning three Grand Slam events in 2011 - the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open.
Sportswoman of the Year was Vivian Cheruiyot who won both 5000 and 10,000 metres gold medals at the World Championships.
2011 Laureus Award winners:
Sportsman of the Year: Novak Djokovic (Serbia)
Sportswoman of the Year: Vivian Cheruiyot (Kenya)
Team of the Year: FC Barcelona (Spain)
Breakthrough of the Year: Rory McIlroy (Northern Ireland)
Comeback of the Year: Darren Clarke (Northern Ireland)
Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability: Oscar Pistorius (South Africa)
Action Sportsperson of the Year: Kelly Slater (USA)