All Blacks: Smith headlines rugby awards

Ben Smith. Photo / Richard Robinson
Ben Smith. Photo / Richard Robinson

Ben Smith, Kieran Read and Liam Messam will go head-to-head for the player of the year prize at next month's New Zealand rugby awards.

Smith, the wing-turned centre with 12 tries in 2013, will be the favourite to claim the Kelvin R Tremain trophy, though he will face stiff competition from loose forward duo Read and Messam.

The team of the year category features four teams currently enjoying streaks of success. Repeat Super Rugby winners the Chiefs and six-time ITM Cup champions Canterbury lead the bill, while the All Blacks earned a nomination to cap their currently-undefeated year and the New Zealand sevens side round out the quartet.

Coach of the year will see the mentors of three of those teams do battle, with Steve Hansen, Dave Rennie and Gordon Tietjens all earning nominations for the second straight year.

Smith and Messam have also been tipped for Super Rugby player of the year, along with fellow All Black Sam Whitelock, while Taman's Marty Banks will battle Andy Ellis and Victor Vito for the ITM Cup player of the year prize.

The awards, to be held at the Sky City Auckland Convention Centre on December 5, will for the first time allow fans to hold some sway, with an online vote set up to select the fans' try of the year.

2013 Rugby Awards nominations

Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year
Liam Messam
Kieran Read
Ben Smith

Team of the Year
All Blacks
All Blacks Sevens
Canterbury
Chiefs

New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year
Steven Hansen
Dave Rennie
Gordon Tietjens

Super Rugby Player of the Year
Liam Messam
Ben Smith
Sam Whitelock

ITM Cup Player of the Year
Marty Banks
Andy Ellis
Victor Vito

Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year
Kurt Baker
Gillies Kaka
Tim Mikkelson

Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year
Tanerau Latimer
Liam Messam
Aaron Smith

Women's Player of the Year
Kelly Brazier
Casey Robertson
Selica Winiata

Women's Sevens Player of the Year
Kelly Brazier
Kayla McAlister
Portia Woodman

Rugby Referee of the Year
Nicky Inwood
Glen Jackson
Chris Pollock

- APNZ

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