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Kaino named NZ rugby player of the year

Updated: December 01, 2011, 16:03

WELLINGTON, New Zealand(AP) World Cup-winning All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino has been named New Zealand's rugby player of the year.

Kaino, 28, played all but 55 seconds of New Zealand's seven World Cup matches, being substituted only once.

He didn't attend Thursday's awards dinner in Auckland because he is on honeymoon in Samoa but All Blacks captain Richie McCaw described the hardworking back-rower as "a rock.''

McCaw said "he's a soldier. But more than that, he was the guy leading the way with his physicality.''

World Cup-winning coach Graham Henry was named coach of the year.

Bryce Lawrence, who incensed South African fans with his control of the World Cup quarterfinal between the Springboks and Wallabies, was named referee of the year.

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