Who needs a full campaign to make their mark on a competition? Richie Mo'unga sure didn't. Despite missing seven weeks of the competition, the Crusaders first five-eighth is the MVP of the Super Rugby regular season.
The 24-year-old hardly put a foot wrong in his 11 matches during the season and the Crusaders benefited in a big way from having him on the pitch.
Averaging 40 points per game with Mo'unga on the pitch, the Crusaders notched up 11 wins from as many outings; finishing the season as the top seed with a 14-2 record.
Mo'unga finished as the top votes leader as selected by NZME sports reporters following the conclusion of the regular season.
Mo'unga (20 points) edged out Chiefs lock Brodie Retallick (17 points) and Crusaders teammate Scott Barrett (nine points), with the No 10 receiving five first-place votes from the 13 voters.
The NZME reporters were asked to pick their top three players of the regular season, with three points given to their first choice, two to the second and one point to their third selection.
Aaron Smith (2015), Damian McKenzie (2016) and Sam Whitelock (2017)are previous winners of the award.
Richie Mo'unga (Crusaders) - 20 points (five 1st place votes)
Brodie Retallick (Chiefs) - 17 (three 1st place votes)
Scott Barrett (Crusaders) - 9 (two 1st place votes)
Solomon Alaimalo (Chiefs) - 8 (two 1st place votes)
George Bridge (Crusaders) - 4
Jack Goodhue (Crusaders) - 4
Matt Todd (Crusaders) - 4
Kwagga Smith (Lions) - 3 (one 1st place vote)
Ben Lam (Hurricanes ) - 3
Ngani Laumape (Hurricanes) -3
Robert du Preez (Sharks) - 2
Taqele Naiyaravoro (Waratahs) - 2
Luke Whitelock (Highlanders) - 1
Damian McKenzie (Chiefs) - 1
Bernard Foley (Waratahs) - 1
Ricky Riccitelli (Hurricanes) - 1
Codie Taylor (Crusaders) - 1
Amanaki Mafi (Rebels) - 1