Kiwis love their rugby, therefore the annual New Zealand Rugby Awards are always highly anticipated. This week the winners were announced, Bay of Plenty's finest among them.
When approached for an interview about being named Volunteer of the Year at the New Zealand Rugby Awards, Ian Spraggon's response was evidence of his dedication.
"It will have to be quick, I'm in the middle of organising a bowls tournament," he said.
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It sums up the 77-year-old's dedication and commitment to providing others with opportunities to enjoy sport.
With a background in teaching, Spraggon said he started coaching rugby in 1963. He has not looked back, sharing his love of the sport with thousands of Kiwi children and still going strong today.
He has been the rugby sevens co-ordinator at the AIMS Games since 2010 and at this year's event he was awarded the first-ever lifetime AIMS Games Pass in recognition of his years of coaching, administrating and supporting youth sport.
However, while he greatly appreciated the individual awards, they were not the reason he was so involved.
"I was humbled to even be on the shortlist, [to win] was even more humbling. You don't expect that, it's not why you do the volunteer work - you do it because you enjoy being part of the team," Spraggon says.
"I enjoy being able to teach the kids skills and give them opportunities. I come from a volunteer background, my parents were both serious volunteers in sport and as well as other stuff like St John," Spraggon said.
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He has fond memories of his time coaching, particularly in 1995 when Bay of Plenty were welcomed into the Roller Mills rugby tournament.
"We had numerous successes after that but I wasn't necessarily concerned with winning, I was more concerned with the development of players and their respect for the game and what they were involved in."
He said he knew his involvement in sport would have to come to and end one day but insisted "that won't be anytime soon".
Meanwhile, those who made their mark on the field were also celebrated at the awards and there was a handful on Bay of Plenty stars among them.
Steamers midfielder Chase Tiatia took out the Duane Monkely Medal for his thrilling form during the Mitre 10 Cup in which he played a crucial role in his side winning the Championship.
Black Ferns Sevens co-coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney, both Rotorua Boys' High School old boys, were named ASB New Zealand Coaches of the Year, and their Mount Maunganui-based team were crowned the adidas New Zealand Team of the Year for a second consecutive year.
Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini, who is based in Pāpāmoa, made history as she became the first woman to win the Tom French Māori Player of the Year. Her teammate Tyla Nathan-Wong was named Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year.
Rotorua Boys' High first XV player Stuart Leach made the top three in the Sky Television Fan's Try of the Year but was beaten to the award by All Blacks halfback TJ Perenara for his thrilling sideline-skating try during the Rugby World Cup.
Stealing all the headlines was Wellington's Ardie Savea who took home three awards; the Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year, the All Blacks Player of the Year, and the Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year.
New Zealand Rugby chairman Brent Impey said 2019 had been a successful year right across rugby.
"I am delighted that 70 years after the Māori Player of the Year award was first presented in 1949 to Johnny Smith of North Auckland, Sarah Hirini becomes the first woman to lift the Tom French Cup," Impey says.
"She is a player whose strength and leadership on the field, make her an appropriate winner of this award."
New Zealand Rugby Award Winners
Sky Television Fan's Try of the Year:
New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year:
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year:
Ian Spraggon (Bay of Plenty).
NZRPA Kirk Award:
Josh Blackie, Seilala Mapusua, Hale T-Pole.
Steinlager Salver for an Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rugby:
New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year:
Fletcher Newell (Canterbury).
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year:
Josh Clark (North Otago).
Duane Monkley Medal:
Chase Tiatia (Bay of Plenty).
Fiao'o Faamausili Medal:
Chelsea Bremner (Canterbury Women).
ASB National Coach of the Year:
Scott Robertson (Crusaders).
ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year:
Cory Sweeney and Allan Bunting (Black Ferns Sevens).
Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year:
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes).
Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year:
Sarah Hirini (Ngāti Kahungunu).
Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year:
Tone Ng Shiu (Tasman).
Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year:
Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland).
Black Ferns Player of the Year:
Charmaine McMenamin (Auckland).
All Blacks Player of the Year:
Ardie Savea (Hurricanes).
Adidas National Team of the Year:
Adidas New Zealand Team of the Year:
Black Ferns Sevens.
Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year:
Previous Kelvin R Tremain award winners (last 10 years):
2018: Kendra Cocksedge
2017: Samuel Whitelock
2016: Beauden Barrett
2015: Ma'a Nonu
2014: Brodie Retallick
2013: Kieran Read
2012: Richie McCaw
2011: Jerome Kaino
2010: Kieran Read
2009: Richie McCaw
2008: Andrew Hore