Saracens star beats Richie McCaw and Victor Matfield to win prestigious prize
Alphonsi, who won national acclaim with her high-octane performances in last year’s Women’s Rugby World Cup in England, followed in the footsteps of England greats Martin Johnson, Jonny Wilkinson, Lawrence Dallaglio and Jason Robinson to scoop the award at the London event.
This year the 27-year-old, who looks set to reach a half-century of England caps in next month’s RBS 6 Nations, fought off stiff opposition from the likes of New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, All Black Dan Carter and South Africa’s Victor Matfield.
Alphonsi, who was also named the Sunday Times Sports Woman of the Year in November, said: "I am so overwhelmed about winning this award. I wasn’t expecting it – I didn’t even know I was nominated – so to win is fantastic.
"Some real rugby greats have won this award in the past, and one of the things that really makes this award so special is that it was voted for by influential people in the rugby industry.
Alphonsi's stock rose last season, especially for her hard-tackling and incisive running during England's run to the Women's Rugby World Cup final, before a narrow defeat to New Zealand.
She added: "It hasn’t really sunk in yet but what I do know is that I would not have won this award if it wasn’t for the tremendous performances of the England team during the world cup. Although we didn’t win, the effort the whole team put in was tremendous.
"As a result the profile of women’s rugby has changed for the better and I certainly hope that this will continue next month when we are back in international action for the RBS 6 Nations."
Courtois Straight Through to the Semis
– Pauline Courtois leads after first day