However Read became the third New Zealander to win the top award after the 28-year-old enjoyed a fantastic year in the heart of the All Blacks' pack and played no small part in ensuring his team went through 2013 with a perfect record.
His influence has been huge, as demonstrated by his workload in the scrum, lineout, his tackling, his ability to compete in the air and at the breakdown, not to mention the tendency to be in the right place at the right time when it comes to creating or scoring tries.
He has played 61 Tests for New Zealand, the majority of them in the back row alongside Richie McCaw, and is now the most prolific try-scoring number 8 in world Rugby.
The accolade completes a hat-trick of awards for New Zealand, as the All Blacks were named IRB Team of the Year for the seventh time and Steve Hansen the IRB Coach of the Year for the second year in succession.
Under Hansen's guidance New Zealand won all 14 of their Test matches during 2013, a feat that has never before been achieved in the professional era. In that time his team won the Bledisloe Cup for the 11th successive year on their way to retaining The Rugby Championship title.
IRB Chairman Bernard Lapasset said: "The IRB player, coach and team awards bring the international Rugby year to a close and what a year it has been for New Zealand. They seem to reach new levels of excellence every year and although some managed to push them very close, they were clearly the stand-out team of the year."
"I would like to congratulate those who were on a stellar shortlist. All thoroughly deserved their place and gave the panel a very difficult decision to make."