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Nominations for 2019 ASB Rugby Awards revealed

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Two category changes to New Zealand Rugby’s pre-eminent awards, the ASB Rugby Awards, have been unveiled along with the nominations for this year’s awards.

The leading All Blacks and Black Ferns will now contest the new All Blacks Player of the Year and the renamed Black Ferns Player of the Year categories. The Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year award will be awarded to the supreme winner from among all the Player of the Year winners on the night. Winners will be announced at the awards in Auckland on Thursday 12 December.

New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew said: "Congratulations to all those nominated for awards. Every year, the ASB Rugby Awards is an opportunity for us to celebrate excellence, perseverance, success and triumph. It’s also important to acknowledge those volunteers who keep the game alive in the community through their dedication, hard work and tenacity. These are the attitudes that are important to any rugby team.

"As the game grows and we see the support and growth of our other teams in black, it has become appropriate to acknowledge them separately for the contributions they make to their specific part of rugby. The All Blacks continue to be an important global figure for us, and the Black Ferns are driving real growth in the game in New Zealand and overseas. The globe-trotting Black Ferns Sevens and All Blacks Sevens teams are now popular figures in every country in which they play during the World Series," he said.

Rugby World Cup 2019 stars Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes), Anton Lienert-Brown (Chiefs) and Ardie Savea (Hurricanes) have all been nominated for All Blacks Player of the Year while Black Ferns Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Ayesha Leti-I’iga (Wellington) and Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland) are all up for Black Ferns Player of the Year.

From the World Sevens Series circuits, Dylan Collier (Waikato), Andrew Knewstubb (Horowhenua Kapiti), Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), Sarah Hirini (Manawatu), and Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland) have been nominated for their respective Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year and Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year awards.

An unprecedented Championship-winning year sees the Tasman Mako nominated for the adidas National team of the Year, alongside Farah Palmer Cup champions Canterbury, and Investec Super Rugby winners the Crusaders. Those teams also secured National Coach of the Year nominations for Tasman’s co-coaches Andrew Goodman and Clarke Dermody, Canterbury’s Farah Palmer Cup winning coach Kieran Kite, and three-peat Crusaders’ Coach, Scott Robertson.

The All Blacks, Black Ferns and Black Ferns Sevens have been nominated for the adidas New Zealand Team of the Year award.

Outstanding form in 2019 sees Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), and Brad Weber (Chiefs) nominated for Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year, and Māori All Blacks skipper Ash Dixon (Ngāti Tahinga), Black Ferns skipper Sarah Hirini (Ngāti Kahungunu), and All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara (Te Arawa / Ngāti Rangitihi ) are nominated for the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year.

A stunning debut season for Auckland first five-eighth Patricia Maliepo sees her named one of the three nominees for the Fiao’o Faamausili Medal for best player in the Farah Palmer Cup. She’s joined by Chelsea Bremner from Canterbury and Ayesha Leti-I'iga from Wellington.

A tight field of top performers in the Mitre 10 Cup means nominations for Gareth Evans (Hawke’s Bay), Salesi Rayasi (Auckland), Fletcher Smith (Waikato) and Chase Tiatia (Bay of Plenty). In the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship competition Josh Clark and Robbie Smith (both North Otago) and Campbell Hart (Whanganui) will vie for the Heartland Player of the Year.

Zach Gallagher and Fletcher Newell (both Canterbury) and Tupou Vaa’i (Taranaki) are in line for the Age Grade Player of the Year award.

The first woman to referee in the Mitre 10 Cup Rebecca Mahoney (Wairarapa) is up against stiff competition from Rugby World Cup referees Ben O’Keeffe (Wellington) and Paul Williams (Taranaki).

The community award for Volunteer of the Year sees nominations for Ian Spraggon of Bay of Plenty, Kevin Pulley (Wellington) and Sue Mitchell (Taranaki).

With public voting now closed, the hotly contested Sky Television Fans Try of the Year has been narrowed from a long list of 10 to three. Fans have put Rotorua Boys' High School player Stuart Leach, Otago Spirit's Sheree Hume and All Black TJ Perenara in the top three with the fans' final winner to be revealed at next weeks' awards event.

Three awards will be announced on the night - the NZRPA David Kirk Award, the Steinlager Salver and the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year.

ASB head of community and sponsorship Mark Graham said it was great to be part of an event celebrating success from grassroots club rugby across the country, through to the national teams.

"It’s been a huge year for New Zealand rugby and we’ve seen some incredible talent come through from both established and new players, but this event also celebrates the dedication and hard work of all of the coaches, referees, volunteers and supporters that make New Zealand rugby the sport that it is.

"The finalists for this year are an amazing group of men and women who have either represented New Zealand on the world stage, given up their time to coach up-and-coming players or volunteered to help the next generation of rugby stars, some of whom will go on to be future All Blacks and Black Ferns. The calibre of finalists continues to inspire us and we would like to congratulate everyone who is up for an award this year," said Graham.

Judges Panel:

Mike Eagle, Graham Mourie, Tony Johnson, Matt Sexton, Dr Farah Palmer

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