By Stephen Thomas, Rugby World reader

So 2009; what a year! There have been many ups and downs; many tales to tell. I’m going to be here every month reviewing everything which happens and giving out my unofficial awards. Now I’m going to look at 2009.
First of all is the Player of the Year. The IRB Player of the Year went to Richie McCaw and though that is a great choice, I personally believe it should have been Brian O Driscoll. He was superb both for club, country and for Lions. He still has the touch of class about him and when he touches the ball you just expect something to happen.
Team of the year is next. My winner is Sale Sharks! Only joking; they are a work in progress so perhaps next year! I’m going to give it to the British and Irish Lions. For a team who only got together for a short amount of time beforehand; to have the camaraderie they did and to come within a whisker of the winning the series is a credit to all of them especially the coaching staff which leads me to Coach of the Year.
There is only one choice for me. Sir Ian McGeechan. I never really realised how much the Lions meant to him until I saw the DVD of the tour and after a team talk before a game, there he was crying. Hands up this made me emotional and made me realise that it means that much to him.
Special recognition due to Declan Kidney who took his Munster form to Ireland and getting a Grand Slam for the first time in 66 years so well done to him. Also to Richard Cockerill for Leicester who deserves credit as he took over mid season and winning the Premiership and getting in the final of the Heineken Cup deserves huge credit.
My final award is the Moment of the Year and there are joint winners for that. Ireland and winning the Grand Slam for the first time in 66 years; what a great moment to watch and they fully deserved it with the talent of players they have in their squad.
My other recipient is Tom Williams in Bloodgate. Now I thought the events of this summer were awful and Dean Richards got what he deserved really but the thing that made me laugh the moment was the footage of how he got the capsule to open! Surely he could have made it less obvious!
Until next month…