Ardie Savea wins top accolade at New Zealand rugby awards

Ardie Savea wins top accolade at New Zealand rugby awards

A month after claiming World Rugby's biggest prize, Ardie Savea has claimed the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year at the 2023 ASB Rugby Awards.

A month after claiming World Rugby's biggest prize, Ardie Savea has claimed the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year at the 2023 ASB Rugby Awards.

It is the second time Savea has received the top honour, while he was also named the All Blacks Player of the Year for the third consecutive year.

The World Series winning All Blacks and Black Ferns Sevens teams were each recognised with the men's team named adidas New Zealand Team of the Year and women's Coach Cory Sweeney the ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year.

The heart of the national game was celebrated with new awards in 2023. Steven Li won Te Hāpai New Zealand Rugby Community Impact Award, Li's commitment to increasing participation, ensuring safety and fostering an inclusive environment were highlighted in the Rip Rugby programme he developed to welcome Asian migrants to the game.

The Auckland University Rugby Football Club was named as the inaugural Bunnings Warehouse Rugby Club of the Year. Auckland University RFC promote an inclusive culture through their fee subsidy programme, creation of gender-neutral charging facilities along with several on and off field participation opportunities for their community.

In a big night for the Auckland University club, life member Rob Fisher was recognised with one of the night's biggest honours, the Steinlager Salver for outstanding contribution to New Zealand Rugby (NZR).

Involved in rugby administration at club, provincial, national and international level for decades, Fisher has served in governance roles on the NZR, SANZAAR and World Rugby boards. He was part of negotiations for the first sale of rugby's TV rights with Sky TV and developing the Super 12 and Tri Nations competitions.

Waikato's Allen Grainger was awarded the Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year award, while international referee Ben O™Keeffe was awarded the New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year for the fourth time.

The best of our provincial game was recognised with medals in honour of the competition's greats - South Canterbury's Siu Kakala receiving the Ian Kirkpatrick Medal, Hawke's Bay Tui playmaker Krysten Cottrell the Fiao™o Fa™amausili Medal and Counties Manukau hot stepper Etene Nanai-Seturo the Duane Monkley Medal.

South Canterbury was also recognised for their undefeated season with the Adidas National Men's Team of the Year after winning the Meads Cup for the third consecutive season.

The Auckland Storm was awarded the Adidas National Women's Team of the Year after claiming the Farah Palmer Cup presented by Bunnings Warehouse Premiership. Championship-winning coach Rawinia Everitt was recognised for her efforts with the Northland Kauri, named the ASB National Women's Coach of the Year, while Taranaki's Neil Barnes received the men's equivalent.

Crusaders captain Scott Barrett and Matatū loose forward Lucy Jenkins can add Super Rugby Player of the Year titles to their Super Rugby titles from 2023, while Aaron Smith was recognised for another stellar season by receiving the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year.

The best to don the black jersey this year were highlighted. Under 20s star Harry Godfrey was named the New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year, Akuila Rokolisoa received the Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year, Stacey Waaka the Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year and Liana Mikaele-Tu™u the Black Ferns Player of the Year.

The Sky Fans Try of the Year, decided by public vote, was given to Will Jordan's finish following some Damian McKenzie magic against Uruguay in the Rugby World Cup.

"Congratulations to all the winners and nominees this year," said NZR CEO Mark Robinson.

"We've had another amazing year of rugby with inspiring performances and contributions at all levels of the game.

"Our Sevens teams really led the charge with exceptional performances, while Ardie Savea continues to set a high standard in every team he represents and is a worthy recipient of the Kel Tremain award.

"It's heartening to hear the stories of some of our game's unsung heroes and we are really proud to have the introduction of new awards in this area in 2023."

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