McCaw wins top gong

All Black Richie McCaw at the Rugby Awards held at SkyCity. Photo / Dean Purcell
All Black Richie McCaw at the Rugby Awards held at SkyCity. Photo / Dean Purcell

All Blacks' skipper Richie McCaw has been named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year in tonight's national rugby awards, which also saw accolades for All Blacks' coach Steve Hansen, and the world champion All Blacks.

McCaw's consistently outstanding performance, relentless workrate and inspiring leadership on and off the field, saw him take the title for the fourth time in the 18-year history of the award.

McCaw, 31, was also named the player of the year in 2003, 2006 and 2009.
The All Blacks' continued dominance through the international season, which saw them take a clean sweep of the June test series, retain the Bledisloe Cup and win the Rugby Championship and a three-from-four record on the end-of-year tour resulted in them winning the Team of the Year award.

They edged out Super Rugby champions the Chiefs, and five-in-a-row ITM Cup winners Canterbury.

In a year in which he anointed several new All Blacks and led a convincing international campaign, head coach Steve Hansen picked up his first NZRU Coach of the Year Award, seeing off challenges from Chiefs' coach Dave Rennie and sevens' maestro Gordon Tietjens.

Auckland loose forward Rawinia Everitt has been rewarded for a solid season both in the women's provincial championship and in the black jersey with the Black Ferns, as she was named the NZRU Women's Player of the Year.

All Blacks' and Chiefs' loose forward Liam Messam was named the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year, while Manawatu Turbos' and New Zealand under-20 emerging talent Jason Emery won the Age Grade Player of the Year award.

This year's IRB Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama has added the NZRU Sevens Player of the Year to his bow, while professional-player-turned-professional-referee Glen Jackson was named the Referee of the Year.

An inspiring season from Hurricanes' captain and centre Conrad Smith saw him pick up the Super Rugby Player of the Year award, while Canterbury's Robbie Fruean picked up the ITM Cup Player of the Year award for the second time, having won it in 2010.
Wanganui's Peter Rowe was named the Heartland Player of the Year.

Bay of Plenty Rugby's Ray Watson was named this year's Charles Munro Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to junior rugby which has seen growth in the union's player numbers.

The Steinlager Salver award, which recognises exceptional contributions to New Zealand rugby, was presented to Southland stalwart, former player, and coach and long-time administrator Ray Harper. The 84-year-old served the Southland rugby administration for 24 years, becoming a life member.

NZRU Chairman Mike Eagle congratulated all the winners of this year's awards.
"2012 has been a remarkable year with the Chiefs taking their first Investec Super Rugby championship, Canterbury winning an unprecedented five consecutive titles, and the All Blacks Sevens notching up their tenth Sevens World Series title,'' Eagle said.

"The provincial game this year gave us many heart-stopping moments including extra time semifinal drama and historic scenes in Ruatoria as East Coast claimed their first Meads Cup win, and in Westport where Buller won the Lochore Cup _ their first ever piece of provincial rugby silverware.''

Special presentations of greenstone mere were made to All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes, and to All Blacks Sevens veterans Lote Raikabula and Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama, to mark 50 tournaments each.

A mere was also presented to All Blacks' assistant manager Gilbert Enoka in recognition of him assisting the team in 150 Tests.


Award winners:

Kelvin Tremain Memorial Player of the Year: Richie McCaw

Team of the Year: All Blacks

NZRU Coach of the Year: Steve Hansen (All Blacks)

NZRU Women's Player of the Year: Rawinia Everitt

Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)

NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year: Jason Emery

Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year: Liam Messam

Super Rugby Player of the Year: Conrad Smith (Hurricanes)

NZRU Referee of the Year: Glen Jackson

Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year: Ray Watson (Bay of Plenty)

ITM Cup Player of the Year: Robbie Fruean (Canterbury)

Heartland Championship Player of the Year: Peter Rowe (Wanganui)

Steinlager Salver: Ray Harper (Southland)

- APNZ

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