Sam Cane has received double recognition at the New Zealand Rugby awards – while the Black Ferns Sevens’ domination on the world stage was recognised yet again in 2020.

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The Ferns secured a hat-trick of New Zealand team of the year titles to again top the All Blacks, with Cane claiming the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial honour for overall player of the year, and the All Black of the year title.

Cane played all six tests with distinction in his challenging debut season as All Blacks captain, leading the team to a 50 per cent win record which included locking away the Bledisloe Cup and Tri Nations titles.

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In winning both awards, Cane was selected ahead of Aaron Smith and Dane Coles.

Black Ferns Sevens coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney were crowned New Zealand coaches of the year after winning the same category in 2019.

Scott Robertson won the national coach of the year gong for a second successive year after masterminding the Crusaders Super Rugby Aotearoa title win, with first five-eighth Richie Mo’unga claiming Super Rugby player of the year.

The national team of the year was awarded to Tasman for their efforts in defending the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership title against Auckland.

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Legendary rugby icon Sir Bryan Williams claimed this year’s Steinlager Salver, the New Zealand Rugby tradition of recognising an outstanding contribution to the game.

Williams is a figurehead rugby, contributing as a player, coach and administrator for more than 50 years – his commitment previously recognised as an inductee into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and a Knighthood in 2018.

More recently, Williams has been a key figure behind the Moana Pasifika team.

New Zealand M?ori captain, Highlanders and Hawke’s Bay hooker Ash Dixon was recognised for his superb season by claiming the Tom French Memorial M?ori Player of the year, while his Hawke’s Bay halfback Folau Fakatava was awarded the Duane Monkley Medal for the best player in the Mitre 10 Cup.

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Canterbury halfback Kendra Cocksedge received the Fiao’o Faamausili Medal for player of the Farah Palmer Cup, while Waikato captain and midfielder Chelsea Alley was rewarded with the Black Ferns player of the year.

World Series winning Sevens captain Scott Curry received the Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens player of the year, while try-scoring sensation Stacey Fluhler won the Black Ferns Sevens player of the year. Both players had previously been recognised by World Rugby and selected in the season ‘Dream Teams’.

The NZRPA Kirk Award was presented to former All Blacks halfback Andy Ellis for his contributions to the game off the field. Ellis has a broad resume since retiring, working tirelessly to support and develop current players with their pursuits outside of rugby.

Referee Paul Williams won the New Zealand referee of the year award for the second year in a row. With Covid-19 restrictions in place, Williams became New Zealand’s first referee to control an All Blacks fixture in 40 years when he refereed the All Blacks against Australia in Wellington in October.

Waikanae Rugby Club junior convenor Jane Chamberlain was recognised with the Charles Monro rugby volunteer of the year award, nominated by her Horowhenua Kapiti union.

The Sky fans try of the year, decided by public vote, went to Christ’s College’s Jack Jones. The reserve prop’s effort in going in under the posts was celebrated by his team and an exuberant crowd in the annual fixture against Christchurch Boys’ High School.

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson congratulated all award winners.

“It has been a trying year but tonight has been a great reminder that there is still plenty to celebrate,” Robinson said.

“It is fantastic to see Sir Bryan recognised for his monumental contribution to the game, both on and off the field, with the Steinlager Salver. He is a truly deserving recipient.

“Sam Cane was a formidable leader in 2020 and performed so admirably in the black jersey, while Ash Dixon was a force in every jersey he donned this year.

“The Black Ferns Sevens continue to set the standard with their performances, and we look forward to seeing what they, and the All Blacks Sevens can achieve next year.

“Congratulations to all winners this evening – they deserve their accolades and we welcome them to the history books.”

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NZ Rugby Award Winners:

Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year: Sam Cane
Black Ferns Player of the Year: Chelsea Alley
All Blacks Player of the Year: Sam Cane
New Zealand Team of the Year: Black Ferns Sevens
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Richie Mo’unga
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year: Ash Dixon
Steinlager Salver: Sir Bryan Williams
Duane Monkley Medal (Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year): Folau Fakatava
Fiao’o Faamausili Medal (Farah Palmer Cup Player of the Year): Kendra Cocksedge
National Coach of the Year: Scott Robertson
New Zealand Coach of the Year: Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney
Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year: Scott Curry
Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year: Stacey Fluhler
National Team of the Year: Tasman
Sky TV Fans Try of the Year: Jack Jones
Referee of the Year: Paul Williams
Charles Monro Volunteer of the Year: Jane Chamberlain
NZRPA Kirk Award: Andy Ellis

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