Zoe Aldcroft and Simon Middleton voted best player and best coach in World Rugby

Scarborough’s own Zoe Aldcroft is the best women’s rugby player on the planet.

Friday, 10th December 2021, 4:00 pm
Zoe Aldcroft of England has been named player of the year for 2021 (Picture: Luke Walker/Getty Images for Harlequins FC)

That is the verdict of the fans who voted in a World Rugby poll to determine the world player of the year for 2021.

The accolade caps a remarkable campaign for Aldcroft, who plays her club rugby for Gloucester-Hartpury.

Named England captain for the first time on her 25th birthday, Aldcroft led her team to an 89-0 victory over the USA and marked the occasion with a try.

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Zoe Aldcroft of England wins a lineout during the Autumn International match between England Red Roses and New Zealand at Sandy Park on October 31, 2021 in Exeter, England. (Picture: Harry Trump/Getty Images)

She started all eight of England’s matches in 2021 as the Red Roses extended their unbeaten run to 18 Tests and won a third successive Women’s Six Nations title. Aldcroft beat England team-mate Poppy Cleall and French duo Caroline Boujard and Laure Sansus to the award.

It completes a notable England double after Red Roses boss Simon Middleton – from Pontefract and a former Castleford rugby league player – was named coach of the year.

England lock Maro Itoje lost out to France scrum-half Antoine Dupont for the men’s award.

The 27-year-old Saracens forward was on a four-strong shortlist that also included Australia captain Michael Hooper and his Wallabies colleague Samu Kerevi.

England head coach Simon Middleton has been named coach of the year (Picture: PA)