New Zealand Rugby has announced the finalists for the upcoming national rugby awards, along with a couple of tweaks to the categories.
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.
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 National team of the Year, alongside Farah Palmer Cup champions Canterbury, and 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.
Scott Barrett (Crusaders), Ardie Savea (Hurricanes), and Brad Weber (Chiefs) are nominated for Super Rugby Player of the Year, and Māori All Blacks skipper Ash Dixon, Black Ferns skipper Sarah Hirini), and All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara are nominated for the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year.
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).
Winners will be announced at the awards in Auckland on Thursday 12 December.