16 Nov 2015

Tough contest for 2015 Rugby Awards

11:04 pm on 16 November 2015

Three champion teams are vying for the Team of the Year Award at this year's Steinlager Rugby Awards - back-to-back Rugby World Cup winners the All Blacks, the World Champion New Zealand Under 20 team, and 2015 Super Rugby Champions, the Highlanders.

Richie McCaw, Brodie Retallick and Steve Hansen at the 2014 rugby awards.

Richie McCaw, Brodie Retallick and Steve Hansen at the 2014 rugby awards. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

This year World Rugby Player of the Year Dan Carter, the latest Test centurion, Ma'a Nonu, and team-mates Dane Coles and Ben Smith are all nominated for the Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year Award.

World Rugby Breakthrough Player of the Year Nehe Milner-Skudder (Ngāti Porou) has been nominated for the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year following his emphatic rise through the ranks.

He's up against Taranaki's Charlie Ngatai (Ngāti Porou/Te Whanau-ā-Apanui) who earned his first All Blacks cap in 2015, and last year's winner of this award, All Blacks halfback Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu).

Smith's form for the Highlanders sees the energetic halfback also earn a nod for Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year.

He's vying for that award with team mate and first five-eighth Lima Sopoaga whose excellent season saw him earn an All Blacks cap, and bustling Hurricanes lock James Broadhurst who also made his All Blacks debut this year.

The All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has been nominated for Coach of the year along with 2015 Super Rugby winning coach Jamie Joseph and Canterbury coach Scott Robertson after steering Canterbury to their seventh National Provincial title along with the New Zealand Under 20's World Cup win in Italy.

Women's rugby also enjoyed a stellar year. The Black Ferns dominated the Super Series in Canada, sweeping aside the hosts, World Champions England and the USA. The New Zealand Women's Sevens team qualified for Rio 2016 and secured their third successive Women's Series title.

Black Ferns halfback Kendra Cocksedge, who was named World Rugby's Women's Player of the Year last month, earns a nomination alongside long serving captain Fiao'o Fa'amausili and team-mate Linda Itunu.

In the Women's Sevens category, World Rugby Sevens Player of the Year Portia Woodman is up against captain and 2014 award winner Sarah Goss and Tyla Nathan-Wong.

The All Blacks Sevens also qualified for Rio after finishing a close third to World Series winners Fiji and runners up South Africa. New captain Scott Curry is nominated for the Richard Crawshaw Sevens Player of the Year Award alongside speedster Rieko Ioane who embraced sevens with style in his debut year. Playmaker Joe Webber also excelled this season and earns his first nomination.

2015 Steinlager Rugby Awards nominations

New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year

Alex Fidow (Wellington)

Charlie Gamble (Canterbury)

Akira Ioane (Auckland)

Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year

Tania Karaitiana and Vio Ugone (Stokes Valley RFC - Wellington)

Robert Neil (Pakuranga RFC - Auckland)

Andrew Reilly (Feilding Junior Rugby Committee - Manawatu)

New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year

Jessica Beard (Counties Manukau)

Glen Jackson (Bay of Plenty)

Richard Kelly (Taranaki Rugby)

Heartland Championship Player of the Year

Eric Duff (Mid Canterbury)

Lindsay Horrocks (Wanganui)

Stephen Perofeta (Wanganui)

New Zealand Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year

Sarah Goss (Manawatu)

Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland)

Portia Woodman (Auckland)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year

Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)

Rieko Ioane (Auckland)

Joe Webber (Waikato)

ITM Cup Player of the Year

George Moala (Auckland)

Ardie Savea (Wellington)

Dominic Bird (Canterbury)

Super Rugby Player of the Year

James Broadhurst (Hurricanes)

Aaron Smith (Highlanders)

Lima Sopoaga (Highlanders)

Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year

Charlie Ngatai (Ngāti Porou/Te Whanau-ā-Apanui) (Taranaki)

Nehe Milner-Skudder (Ngāti Porou) (Manawatu)

Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu) (Manawatu)

New Zealand Rugby Women's Player of the Year

Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury)

Fiao'o Fa'amausili (Auckland)

Linda Itunu (Auckland)

New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year

Steve Hansen (All Blacks)

Jamie Joseph (Highlanders)

Scott Robertson (Canterbury, New Zealand Under 20)

Team of the Year

All Blacks


New Zealand Under 20

Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year

Dan Carter (Canterbury)

Dane Coles (Wellington)

Ma'a Nonu (Wellington)

Ben Smith (Otago)