The sevens star has enjoyed an excellent year for her country as the leading try-scorer in the Black Ferns’ successful tilt at the 2017 World Cup, and a member of the and gold-medal winning teams. The Black Ferns are now six-time world champions.
World Rugby vice chairman Agustín Pichot is top of the list, followed by Springboks coach Rassie Erasmus, Montpellier owner Mohed Altrad, chief medical officer for World Rugby Dr Martin Raftery and Ireland coach Joe Schmidt, also a Kiwi. The top 10 is rounded out by Siya Kolisi, Hansen, Johnny Sexton, Woodman and Doddie Weir.
All Blacks Beauden Barrett (25) and captain Kieran Read (43) are the other New Zealand-based players to feature in the top 50. All up, there were 10 Kiwis listed, including Raelene Castle (26), who now heads Rugby Australia and New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew (29)
Woodman was the highest-ranked woman to feature in the list, and one of five to feature overall.
Joy Neville, 2017’s World Rugby referee of the year and former Ireland captain came in 31st, while England player Danielle Waterman – the first female representative on the Rugby Players’ Association Board – was 46th.
Giselle Mather, the first woman to achieve an RFU level four coaching qualification and a 1994 World Cup winner with England, was the final name on the list at 50.
The news is not so good for England’s Australian coach Eddie Jones, who dropped 17 places from second to 19th, after his side lost five consecutive Tests in 2018, before breaking the drought with victory over the Springboks in June.
Five Australians featured overall, with other notable inclusions World Rugby CEO Brett Gosper (16) and mining billionaire Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest (49).
England's most capped rugby player Rochelle Clark retires
Woodman’s Ferns made international news earlier this year, when, 23 years after men’s rugby union was made professional, it was announced that New Zealand’s national women’s team would be offered paid contracts for the first time, valued at up to NZ$45,000.
The historic announcement followed a significant uptake of women playing rugby union globally, with World Rugby reporting a 60% increase in female rugby players since 2013, and an 150% increase in registered female rugby players since 2013. This amounts to a quarter of all players across the globe being women