Dusautoir received his award the day after leading France in their nailbiting 8-7 World Cup final defeat by New Zealand at Eden Park, where he scored his side’s only try and was named man-of-the-match despite being on the losing side.
New Zealand were named team of the year, with All Blacks boss Graham Henry the coach of the year.
Flank forward Dusautoir saw off competition for the award from the All Blacks trio of rival flanker Jeroke Kaino, centre Ma’a Nonu and scrum-half Piri Weepu, who all played against him in Sunday’s final.
Also on the shortlist were the Australia duo of flanker David Pocock and scrum-half Will Genia, members of the Wallabies side who finished third at the World Cup.
Dusautoir, the second France player to win the award after scrum-half Fabien Galthie in 2002, succeeds World Cup-winning New Zealand captain Richie McCaw, winner for the past two years as well as in 2006, as player of the year.
Former Australia captain John Eales, a World Cup winner in 1991 and 1999, chaired an award panel made up of several ex-internationals including Springbok World Cup-winning skipper Francois Pienaar, France’s Rapahael Ibanez, Scotland great Gavin Hastings and New Zealand’s Tana Umaga.
IRB Player of the Year award winners:
2001: Keith Wood (IRL)
2002: Fabien Galthie (FRA)
2003: Jonny Wilkinson (ENG)
2004: Schalk Burger (RSA)
2005: Dan Carter (NZL)
2006: Richie McCaw (NZL)
2007: Bryan Habana (RSA)
2008: Shane Williams (WAL)
2009: Richie McCaw (NZL)
2010: Richie McCaw (NZL)
2011: Thierry Dusautoir (FRA)