The All Blacks, Kieran Read and Steve Hansen enjoyed a fitting conclusion to their perfect season when they were recognised at tonight's Steinlager rugby awards in Auckland.
Read and Hansen took the player of the year and coach of the year awards, respectively, with the All Blacks winning team of the year - all three won the same prizes at this week's International Rugby Board's awards.
The recognition at Sky City in front of their peers puts a seal on the All Blacks' 14 victories from 14 tests in 2013 - the first time a major rugby nation has done so in the professional era. No8 Read was a standout player, particularly throughout the Rugby Championship and recent Northern Hemisphere tour. The latter produced three hard-fought victories over France, England and Ireland. In Dublin, the All Blacks didn't overtake the Irish until Aaron Cruden's re-taken conversion well after the 80 minutes were up.
The All Blacks have lost only once under head coach Hansen - last year's shock defeat to England at Twickenham.
The judging panel included former All Blacks captains Andy Leslie and Graham Mourie, broadcaster Grant Nisbett and the NZRU's Brent Anderson.
NZRU chairman Mike Eagle said he sympathised with the judges. Also in the running for team of the year were Super Rugby champions the Chiefs, who won back-to-back titles, the national sevens team who won the World Cup, and Canterbury who won the national provincial title for the sixth year in a row. Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens and the Chiefs' Dave Rennie were also up for coach of the year.
"This has been another exceptional year in rugby without doubt,'' Eagle said. "This has been an extremely difficult year for our judges. When there is so much to celebrate; when we have been overwhelmed with extraordinary performances, there will always be great champions of our game who miss out on the final accolades.''
All Black Ben Smith, who played every minute of the Highlanders' campaign - and shone despite their consistently poor run of results - was named Super Rugby player of the year.
Canterbury halfback Andy Ellis won the ITM Cup player of the year.
Portia Woodman, in her first year of rugby, won the NZ women's sevens player of the year after picking up the IRB player of the tournament award at the sevens World Cup.
Kurt Baker was named men's sevens player of the year.
The Steinlager Salver was awarded to NZRU board member Mourie, recognising his contribution over many decades as a player, coach and administrator at the highest levels.
2013 Rugby Awards winners
New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year: Ardie Savea (Wellington)
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year: Rob Jones (Manawatu)
New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year: Chris Pollock
Heartland Championship Player of the Year: Jon Dampney
New Zealand Rugby Women's Sevens Player of the Year: Portia Woodman
Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year: Kurt Baker
Sky Television Fans Try of the Year: Selica Winiata/Black Ferns
ITM Cup Player of the Year: Andy Ellis
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Ben Smith
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year: Liam Messam
New Zealand Rugby Women's Player of the Year: Kelly Brazier
New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year: Steven Hansen
Team of the Year: All Blacks
Steinlager Salver: Graham Mourie
Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year: Kieran Read