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All Blacks and Carter break Laureus duck

NZN 18/04/2016

The All Blacks were nigh on unstoppable in 2015 and they and playmaker Dan Carter have now broken sports-mad New Zealand's duck at the Laureus World Sports awards.

The 2015 Rugby World Cup winners were named team of the year, and Dan Carter, who suffered what could have been a career-ending injury in the 2011 tournament victory, earned the Comeback of the Year award at the celebrations in Berlin on Monday.

Coach Steve Hansen was present when cup-winning former skipper Richie McCaw received the award on behalf of the team.

The All Blacks fended off NBA champions Golden State Warriors, the Mercedes Formula One team, the Great Britain Davis Cup tennis team, European soccer club giants Barcelona and women's soccer world champions the United States.

New Zealand has never before tasted success at the Laureus awards, which began in 2000 and are "dedicated to changing the lives of disadvantaged children through sport, and celebrating the achievements of the world's greatest sportspeople".

England (in 2003) and South Africa (2007) turned Rugby World Cup glory into team success but the All Blacks couldn't similarly convert in 2011. They also missed out in 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2013 despite more strong years.

New Zealand finalists in five individual categories have also missed out: All Black Jonah Lomu, motocross rider Levi Sherwood, the Crusaders Super Rugby team, swimmer Sophie Pascoe and shot putter Valerie Adams.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew says the award is great for rugby and New Zealand.

"Little old New Zealand punches well above its weight and is recognised for what it's good at," he told TV3's Paul Henry.

Carter, 34, and now playing out his career in France trumped five other finalists in the comeback category, acknowledging his long battle with injuries before a starring role at the World Cup last year.

The award was a huge honour, he said.

"It was a very special year for me, 2015, especially after all the injury setbacks I've had over the last couple of years."

He thanked his friends, family, teammates and management for their faith in him and encouraging him to live his dream.

He also encouraged McCaw to bring the trophy home safely.

Sailing great Sir Peter Blake was posthumously awarded a lifetime achievement award by the Laureus Academy in 2002.

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