The All Blacks have dominated the major prizes at tonight’s ASB Rugby Awards following an historic year in which the team set a world record for consecutive Tier-One victories and concluded 2016 as holders of all the trophies they compete for.
The World Champions, Investec Rugby Championship and Bledisloe Cup holders have been crowned the adidas Team of the Year for the sixth year in a row.
And the Barrett brothers have scooped up four awards between them with Beauden Barrett winning Player of the Year and Super Rugby Player of the Year and younger brother Jordie Barrett picking up Age Grade Player of the Year and Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year.
The winners were unveiled at a glittering event at the Sky City Convention Centre in Auckland tonight.
World Rugby Player of the Year Beauden Barrett is this year’s winner of the Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year award following an outstanding year in which he was the leading points scorer in both Investec Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship. Barrett secured his place as the All Blacks starting first-five-eighth, scoring 152 points in the black jersey in 2016.
All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hansen was named the ASB Coach of the Year for the fifth successive year.
Challenged to re-establish the All Blacks after last year’s World Cup win and the departure of over 800 caps worth of experience, in 2016 the All Blacks regrouped to set a Tier-One record of 18 consecutive test victories, won the Investec Rugby Championship in a clean sweep and secured the Bledisloe Cup for the 14th year in a row. The team also enjoyed a Steinlager Series victory over Wales and a successful Vista Northern tour, with just the one loss to Ireland, to conclude the year with a 13:1 win-loss record.
The All Blacks’ success was also recognised by their international peers last month when they were named World Rugby Team of the Year and Steve Hansen was named World Rugby Coach of the Year.
New Zealand Rugby (NZR) Chairman Brent Impey congratulated all award winners adding that the annual event was an opportunity to celebrate rugby from commuity to the elite level.
“There is something very special in recognising our best people on the field alongside the people who give their very best off it.
“That support at the community level is a key reason rugby is thriving. Registered player numbers now tip 155,000, with solid increases in the number of young players, women and girls picking up the ball.
“Rugby has an incredible power to bring people together. New Zealanders, international fans, commercial partners, administrators and everyone else: we want them all to connect with us and our game, and be inspired.
“Making everyone feel included in our game is a real and important priority for us because we know that if we get this right then our game really will be the best it can be.”
The ASB Awards also honour those who make a significant difference to the game off the field
Veteran television producer Gavin Service is the recipient of the 2016 Steinlager Salver which recognises an outstanding contribution to the game.
Service was a pioneer of live television rugby coverage in New Zealand. His involvement in televising rugby in New Zealand began in 1978 as a producer and he went on to direct nearly 200 Test Matches and accompanied the All Blacks on more than 20 tours. Service has always been at the forefront of innovation internationally, in recent years he has seamlessly integrated new techniques, including spider cam, into rugby coverage.
The New Zealand Rugby Players Association Kirk Award has been presented for the first time in the ASB Rugby Awards ceremony. The award is given to a person who has made a significant contribution on behalf of professional players. Justin Collins has played 16 seasons of first class rugby. He earned a Super Rugby century with appearances for the Blues and Chiefs, captained Auckland to the provincial championship in 2005 and played over 100 games for Northland. As a long-serving Board member of the Players Association he has delivered great outcomes for players and the game.
Volunteers are the life blood of rugby. Gary Donovan from Suburbs Rugby Club in Auckland has won the Charles Monro Volunteer of the Year. Gary is involved at all levels of the game: he sets up for game day at Suburbs, supports Auckland’s representative teams and helps out at Blues events, performing a huge range of tasks that help to strengthen rugby in the region.
Beauden Barrett secured his second award of the night when he picked up the Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year. Barrett’s play-maker skills helped lead the Hurricanes to their inaugural Investec Super Rugby title while notching up 223 points to be the competition’s top points scorer in 2016.
This year’s World Rugby Player of the Year nominee and Wellingtonian of the Year Dane Coles (Ngati Porou) captained his beloved Hurricanes to thier first Investec Super Rugby title before taking things up a gear with the All Blacks. His exceptional year of success has seen him named the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year.
History was made this year in Rio when sevens made its debut at the summer Olympics and the Blacks Ferns Sevens team was right there, securing silver for our country. The team’s ever reliable captain, Sarah Goss, has been named winner of the Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year. Goss carried a huge workload in 2016 adding another 30 World Series matches and eight tries to her record before heading to Rio for the Olympics.
Rieko Ioane remarkable year started with the Sevens and ended with an All Blacks debut. He has won this year’s Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year. In a huge year for the 19-year-old, Ioane was the top try scorer during the 2015-2016 World Sevens Series, with 28 tries and an average of more than six points per match. Ioane ended his year with selection for the 2016 Vista All Blacks Northern Tour.
In 2016, the Black Ferns secured the world’s top ranking as they ended their year undefeated with a series win in New Zealand against Australia, before heading north for wins over England, Canada and Ireland. New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year Selica Winiata was a try-scoring machine in 2016. Five tries for the Black Ferns Sevens were followed by nine in the Farah Palmer Cup and nine from her five Tests for the Black Ferns, including four tries against Australia in the opening Test of the Laurie O’Reilly Memorial Trophy defence in Auckland.
Teen sensation Jordie Barrett had an outstanding year. His first season in the Mitre 10 Cup saw him play in all 12 of Canterbury's games en route to yet another Premiership title. Playing fullback, or in the midfield, he scored 123 points, including five tries, and produced more offloads than any other player in the competition, helping him to secure this year’s Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year.
In addition to his Mitre 10 Cup success Jordie Barrett had a big campaign with the New Zealand Under 20 side, scoring 52 points at the World Rugby Under 20 Championship in Manchester this year. He was rewarded with an apprentice spot on the Vista All Blacks Northern Tour helping him to earn the award for New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year.
Former Maori All Black Glen Jackson has picked up the Referee of the Year Award for the fourth successive year after an outstanding 2016. This year he refereed at the highest level, including Six Nations, the Investec Rugby Championship and the Super Rugby Final between the Hurricanes and Lions.
Young wing Te Rangatira Waitokia is the Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year. He burst onto the scene for Wanganui this year and scored 12 tries, with a four-try bag against Poverty Bay. He was rewarded with selection to the New Zealand Heartland XV that played New Zealand Marist and toured Fiji in November.
Isiah Punivai’s try for Christ’s College against Christchurch Boys High in their annual interschool match was a team affair. Reclaiming the ball in their own 22 Christ’s worked the ball the length of the field with Punivai scoring from his second touch of the ball in the movement to secure Sky Television Fans Try of the Year Award.
ASB Executive General Manager marketing and Communications Roger Beaumont congratulated tonight’s award winners.
“ASB is proud to support the ASB New Zealand Rugby Awards. It’s been another successful year for New Zealand rugby, and we are delighted to help celebrate the top achievers across all levels of the sport,” Mr Beaumont said.
2016 ASB Rugby Awards winners
New Zealand Rugby Age Grade Player of the Year
Jordie Barrett (Canterbury)
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year
Gary Donovan (Auckland)
NZRPA Kirk Award
New Zealand Rugby Referee of the Year
Glen Jackson (Bay of Plenty)
Mitre 10 Heartland Championship Player of the Year
Te Rangatira Waitokia (Wanganui)
Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year
Jordie Barrett (Canterbury)
Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year
Rieko Ioane (Auckland)
Sky Television Fans Try of the Year
Isaiah Punivai (Christ's College)
Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year
Sarah Goss (Manawatu)
Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
Beauden Barrett (Hurricanes)
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year
Dane Coles (Ngati Porou)
New Zealand Rugby Women’s Player of the Year
Selica Winiata (Manawatu)
Steinlager Salver for an Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rugby
ASB Rugby Coach of the Year
Steve Hansen (All Blacks)
adidas Team of the Year
Kelvin Tremain Memorial Player of the Year
Beauden Barrett (Taranaki/Hurricanes/All Blacks)
The 2016 Judging Panel was:
Brent Anderson (panel chair) – NZR General Manager Community and Provincial Union Rugby and former All Black
Mike Eagle – former NZR Board Chairman
Tony Johnson – SKY TV rugby commentator and presenter
Graham Mourie – former All Blacks Captain and former NZR Board member