The winning shot, entitled 'Commitment' depicts a forlorn Poolman shielding herself from the torrential November rain during her side's 31-7 victory over Italy at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC in Cardiff, in November 2006.
"Andrew's image is particularly striking in that it encapsulates the true spirit of the game," said International Rugby Board Chairman, Dr Syd Millar.
"The fact that it was taken at night and in the pouring rain certainly adds to the atmosphere of the occasion where the commitment of the two teams really comes to the fore. This is an image that all who have played the game at any level can relate to and is a worthy recipient of the IRB/Emirates Rugby Photograph of the Year award."
More than 100 entries were submitted from nine different countries. The Award panel, chaired by IRB World Rugby Yearbook Editor Paul Morgan, was asked to select their top ten images best depicting the 'Spirit of Rugby'.
From this a top 10 was selected and then whittled down to a top six. The top three were then selected, before the panel finally confirmed Andrew Orchard's picture as the winner.
"Following the strong response to the inaugural competition last year, hopes were high that the IRB/Emirates Airline Rugby Photograph of the Year 2008 competition would raise the bar again," said panel chairman Morgan.
"The standard of entry was once again extremely high, underlining the increasing profile of the competition."
Rights-free images of the winning photograph and the five runners-up are available to download from the IRB website at www.irb.com.
"The game was played under floodlights at Glamorgan Wanderers RFC which can be a little dark, so when it started raining I knew that there was a chance of shooting something a bit different," added Orchard.
"I think the rain was at its worst when I took the shot. In the background the girls are preparing for a scrum and Rachel just turned her back for a few seconds, I think she was trying to shield herself from the rain."
Andrew's prize was an all inclusive trip for two to this weekend's Emirates Airline Dubai Sevens, the opening Tournament of the record-breaking IRB Sevens World Series, courtesy of Emirates Airline.