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ASB Rugby Awards – Black Ferns cap off historic year with awards haul 

Black Ferns cap off historic year with awards haul

•    Black Ferns win adidas Team of the Year, ASB Coach of the Year and SKY TV Fan’s Try of the Year
•    Sam Whitelock named Kel Tremain Memorial Player of the Year, Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
•    Sarah Goss named Women’s Player of the Year
•    DJ Forbes wins Richard Crawshaw All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year, NZRPA Kirk Award
•    Special recognition for Wayne Smith
•    Duane Monkley and Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medals presented for first time

The Black Ferns have been named adidas Team of the Year for the first time ever, topping off a night of successes for the World Champions and women’s rugby at the ASB Rugby Awards in Auckland this evening.

The five-time World Champions were named adidas Team of the Year, adding to the World Rugby Team of the Year title they secured in Monaco at the World Rugby Awards earlier this month.

All Blacks lock and Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock picked up two awards as he was named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year and Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year.  All Blacks Sevens legend DJ Forbes also collected two awards with the Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year and the NZRPA Kirk Award.

Black Ferns Coach Glenn Moore was named the ASB Coach of the Year, for his leadership in a World Cup campaign that captured the hearts of a nation, all while dropping only one match throughout the year.  Star winger Portia Woodman’s exceptional try for the Black Ferns against USA at the World Cup was voted by the public as the SKY TV Fan’s Try of the Year.

Black Fern loose forward and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss was named the New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year after a World Cup campaign where she started every match.  She adds this title to the Best Female Athlete in Oceania at the ANOC (Association of Olympic Committee) Awards in Prague last month.

Meanwhile, her Black Ferns Sevens team mate Ruby Tui was named Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year.  Tui’s powerful and aggressive game was at its best in 2017, also earning her a nomination for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.

During the evening, Black Ferns skipper Fiao’o Fa’amausili was presented with a greenstone mere, in recognition of her 50 Test match milestone, achieved during their World Cup campaign, making her the most capped Black Fern of all time.

The newly introduced Duane Monkley and Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medals were presented for the first time to acknowledge the best players in the Mitre 10 Cup and Farah Palmer Cup respectively. This is the first year of a new category to recognise the best of the women’s provincial competition.  Northland’s Jack Goodhue and Counties Manukau’s Hazel Tubic won the medals.

New Zealand Rugby’s accolade for exceptional service, the Steinlager Salver, was this year awarded to Wayne Smith for his phenomenal service to rugby in New Zealand. His career in the black jersey began as a player in 1980 and ended earlier this year having been a key member of the coaching team that led the All Blacks to back-to-back Rugby World Cup titles.

An impressive 12 months with the whistle saw Wellingtonian Ben O’Keeffe named New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year. O’Keeffe officiated in the Investec Rugby Championship, end of year fixtures in Europe and continues to climb the referee ranks including Six Nations duty early next year.

Four decades of service to coaching in the Wairarapa Bush region saw Sid Tatana receive the Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year. Tatana commits to an average commute of up to three hours for every coaching session he leads and has long been a strong advocate for Maori rugby in the province.

New Zealand Rugby Chair Brent Impey said the ASB Rugby Awards event was an opportunity to reflect on a big year for rugby in New Zealand, and to celebrate the many successes across teams and major events such as the British & Irish Lions tour.

“2017 has been another big year for rugby around the world and here in New Zealand, and there is a lot for us to celebrate.  A good indicator that our national teams were in good form on the world stage is that we currently hold all five Rugby World Cup trophies – a spectacular achievement for our collective efforts.

“With us tonight, we are lucky to have such incredibly, talented people who are dedicated to making rugby the great game that it is, and tonight is very much about acknowledging all of them,” he said.

ASB acting executive general manager marketing and communications Christian May congratulated tonight’s award winners.

“ASB is proud to once again be involved in the ASB New Zealand Rugby Awards. It’s a truly fantastic evening supporting New Zealand rugby, and we are delighted to help celebrate the top achievers across all levels of the sport,” Mr May said.

Player Achievements

All Blacks tough man and Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock collected the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year and the Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year. The most capped All Black lock of all time was consistently dominant in 2017 and continued to be a key member of the All Blacks, as well as leading the Crusaders to win an incredibly rare Super Rugby Final win on the road.

Black Fern loose forward and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Goss, tonight named the New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year, was a huge presence on the field in both defence and attack, and she started every match of the Black Ferns World Cup campaign with a remarkable 98% tackle rate.

Meanwhile, Sevens team mate Ruby Tui was named Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year. Tui’s powerful and aggressive game was at its best in 2017, also earning her a nomination for World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year.

Sevens legend DJ Forbes announced his retirement from the game this year and his outstanding career was acknowledged tonight with the Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Black Sevens Player of the Year Award and the NZRPA Kirk Award for his outstanding contribution to the game.

Forbes played his 150th World Series tournament in 2017 and was once again a leading force for the All Blacks Sevens. It is his hard work off the field that saw Forbes receive the Kirk Award, for his tireless efforts as a player advocate on the NZRPA Board over a continued period that has helped shape the sevens game in New Zealand.

World Rugby’s 2017 Breakthrough Player of the Year Rieko Ioane added to his awards collection with the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year.  Ioane was joint top points scorer for the All Blacks Investec Rugby Championship campaign on top of 10 tries for his Investec Super Rugby team the Blues.

Jack Goodhue returned home to play Mitre 10 Cup for Northland in 2017, a move that paid off with the midfield back being a stand-out throughout the season and earning an All Blacks call up for the Vista Northern Tour. Goodhue’s consistent performances saw him top the points table to receive the Duane Monkley Medal.

Fresh from World Cup glory with the Black Ferns, Hazel Tubic made a strong impression on the Farah Palmer Cup for her Counties Manukau team. A versatile back, Tubic was top points scorer in 2017 and the first recipient of the new Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal, a new category in this year’s awards.

Horowhenua Kapiti prop Scott Cameron picked up the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year. He was a key driver in getting his team to the Meads Cup Final and also played a starring role in the New Zealand Heartland XV in their one-off fixture against New Zealand Marist.

While Wellington hooker Asafo Aumua missed out on the Duane Monkley Medal, his outstanding 2017 was recognised, receiving the New Zealand Age Grade Player of the Year. His dynamic, exciting style set the New Zealand Under 20 World Cup campaign alight and he was on fire throughout the Mitre 10 Cup, with performances so breath-taking, the All Blacks couldn’t ignore him for their Vista Northern Tour.

2017 ASB Rugby Awards winners

SKY TV Fan’s Try of the Year
Portia Woodman (Black Ferns)

NZRPA Kirk Award
DJ Forbes

Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year
Sid Tatana (Wairarapa Bush)

New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year
Ben O’Keeffe (Wellington)

New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year
Asafo Aumua (Wellington)

Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year
Scott Cameron (Horowhenua Kapiti)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year
DJ Forbes (Counties Manukau)

Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year
Ruby Tui (Canterbury)

Duane Monkley Medal
Jack Goodhue (Northland)

Fiao’o Fa’amausili Medal
Hazel Tubic (Counties Manukau)

Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
Sam Whitelock (Crusaders)

Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year
Rieko Ioane (Ngāpuhi / Te Whānau ā Apanui)

Steinlager Salver for an Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rugby
Wayne Smith

ASB Coach of the Year
Glenn Moore (Black Ferns)

New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year
Sarah Goss (Manawatu)

Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year
Sam Whitelock

Adidas Team of the Year
Black Ferns



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