England head coach Eddie Jones has been named World Rugby Coach of the Year.
Jones has led England to nine victories in 10 Test matches over the past 12 months as the side sealed a consecutive Six Nations title, a 2-0 series victory in Argentina as well as an Old Mutual Wealth Series whitewash.
The side also equalled New Zealand’s world record run of 18 consecutive victories, before their defeat to Ireland in March.
"It’s great for the team and this award is a reflection of the great team that we’ve got," said Jones.
"I always thought England had very good players but there was just something missing. The players have been able to find that out by themselves and we are only halfway through the project and there is still a fair bit to do.
“We are getting better, we’ve had some good periods, some not so good periods but I think we are on the right track.”
Since taking charge of England, Jones’ side have won 22 out of 23 Test matches and he says the challenge for the team must now be to head into 2018 looking to improve, while also attempting to make history by winning a third consecutive Six Nations title."I’m excited about the Six Nations as we’ve got the opportunity to create history."
“I’m excited about the Six Nations as we’ve got the opportunity to create history by winning it three consecutive times,” said Jones.
“We reassemble in eight weeks and the next two months is a great opportunity for the players to show how much desire they have to be part of a World Cup winning side. It’s all up for grabs.
“We start again. We have great competition, we’ve won nine out of 10 matches and introduced 12 new caps this year. We’ve increased the depth of the squad and have people competing for every position.”
The side’s success is all the more remarkable having sealed a 2-0 series victory in Argentina this summer with up to 30 players missing due to the British & Irish Lions tour as well as injuries.
Jones also had to manage the Lions contingents reconditioning programme over the Old Mutual Wealth Series this autumn which in turn gave him an opportunity to increase the depth of the squad.
Earlier, Rachael Burford was the recipient of the IRPA Special Merit award as recognition of her contribution to the sport both on and off the pitch.