NZ Rugby Awards and Joe Schmidt receives Coach of the Year endorsement
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 06: Captain Samuel Whitelock of the Crusaders lifts the Super Rugby trophy during a Crusaders Super Rugby Final reception on August 6, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images)

Every December, the best and brightest of New Zealand (NZ) Rugby get together to celebrate. Whatever the accomplishments individually, the NZ Rugby Awards is the best time to celebrate the sport, as a group.

For women and men, players and referees, coaches and administrators, they all sit back and acknowledge each other’s efforts. To highlight team’s and player’s performances, ones that took fans attention – such as the Crusaders winning back-to-back titles – as much as to honour the contribution of stakeholders and those ‘behind the scenes’ put in.

No matter if it is Auckland, or Monaco [for the World Rugby Awards] the setting is always a celebration for those present, alongside every single player’s across NZ Rugby. The award winners only demonstrate the norm, and some have performed to such higher standards, that it is easy to recognize.

NZ Rugby Awards 2018

The awards night is Thursday, December 13, to be held at the SkyCity Convention Center, Auckland.

NZR chief executive Steve Tew said 2018 had been a big year for rugby. “It’s been another special year with several victories providing us moments of pride and cause for celebration, and some great rugby moments that inspire us to always strive to be our best.

A full list of the nominees is detailed below-page, and while these awards celebrate the local talent, there has been a significant step-forward in Sport respecting the achievements of others, who do not reside locally.

As the season of ‘giving’ leads into Christmas, Ireland Rugby head coach Joe Schmidt has received an endorsement from his peers. The reigning World Rugby ‘Coach of the Year’ has been recognized by the Halberg Trust.

Joe Schmidt receives Coach of the Year endorsement

Once seen as the ‘exit door’ to any form of recognition, as the success of Schmidt has become unmissable, a change in attitude see’s the former Auckland Blues assistant coach nominated for coach of the year at the Halberg Trust annual awards.

If anything, the maturity of the Halberg Trust panel’s judgment is a wonderful commendation for the coach. Being away from New Zealand for so long, the common misconception is that the NZ Rugby Awards are elitist. Whilst they are qualified by coaching within the NZ Rugby system, then the Halberg Awards can transcend those boundaries.

A brilliant nod of appreciation for a man who has been widely praised for his contribution to Irish Rugby – the call by Halberg Awards officials to allow his nomination is a huge nod of respect to Schmidt, and to his place [still] as a New Zealander on the International stage.

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Below are the official nominees for the NZ Rugby Awards. The ASB Rugby Awards judging panel is: Graham Mourie, Matt Sexton, Mike Eagle, Dr Farah Palmer and Tony Johnson

2018 ASB NZ RUGBY AWARD Nominees;

Sky Television Fan’s Try of the Year – Top Three Finalists
– Kelly Brazier (Black Ferns Sevens), Chris Hala’ufia (St Peter’s College), and Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders)
New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year 
– Glen Jackson (Bay of Plenty), Richard Kelly (Taranaki), and Rebecca Mahoney (Wairarapa Bush)

Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year
– Irene Eruera-Taiapa (Horowhenua Kapiti), Steve Webling (Taranaki), and Kim Wheeler (King Country)
New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year
– Sam Darry (Canterbury), Tom Christie (Canterbury), Risaleaana Pouri-Lane (Tasman), and Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty)
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year 
– Craig Clare (Wanganui), Brett Ranga (Thames Valley), and Willie Wright (South Canterbury)
Duane Monkley Medal
– TJ Faiane (Auckland), Luke Romano (Canterbury), and Fletcher Smith (Waikato)Fiao’o Faamausili Medal
– Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Krysten Cottrell (Hawke’s Bay) , and Jackie Patea-Fereti (Wellington)

ASB National Coach of the Year
– Alama Ieremia (Auckland), Kieran Kite (Canterbury Women), and Scott Robertson (Crusaders)
ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year
– Allan Bunting (Black Ferns Sevens), Steve Hansen (All Blacks), and Clark Laidlaw (All Blacks Sevens)
Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
– Solomon Alaimalo (Chiefs), Richie Mo’unga (Crusaders), and Matt Todd (Crusaders)
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year
– Sarah Goss (Ngati Kahungunu), Rieko Ioane (Ngapuhi / Te Whanau a Apanui), and Codie Taylor (Ngati Raukawa / Muaupoko)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year
– Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty), Vilimoni Koroi (Otago), and Regan Ware (Bay of Plenty)Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year 
– Michaela Blyde (Bay of Plenty), Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty), and Sarah Goss (Manawatu)
New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year
– Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Aroha Savage (Counties Manukau), and Selica Winiata (Manawatu)

Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year
– Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury), Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury), Brodie Retallick (Hawke’s Bay), and Codie Taylor (Canterbury)
adidas National Team of the Year
– Auckland, Crusaders and Thames Valley
adidas New Zealand Team of the Year 
– All Blacks, All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens

Follow Last Word on Rugby on social media for the results of the 2018 NZ Rugby Awards, and next year in the 56th Halberg Awards will take place on Thursday, 21 February 2019 at Spark Arena, in Auckland.

“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images

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