FRANCE captain Thierry Dusautoir (insset) has been named International Rugby Board player of the year in Auckland.
The award will come as some consolation to the 29-year-old after his team's 8-7 loss to New Zealand in the World Cup final.
Dusautoir succeeds All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw, who has won the accolade for the past two years, and becomes the first Frenchman to receive the award since Fabien Galthie in 2002.
New world champions New Zealand were not forgotten, though, taking away the best team title and best coach award for outgoing boss Graham Henry.
Wales have dropped two places in the IRB's latest world rankings, despite their World Cup heroics in finishing fourth.
Warren Gatland's men almost shaded France for a final place, despite playing more than an hour with 14 men after the early dismissal of Sam Warburton.
Their performances have not aided their ranking, though, and they are the only side in the top 10 to fall, slipping from sixth to eighth.
New Zealand remain top, with Australia second, France third and South Africa fourth, while England complete an unchanged top five.
Ireland rise a place to sixth, as do seventh-placed Argentina, then come the Welsh, Tonga and Scotland in 10th.