December 18, 2020

2020 Gallagher Chiefs Captain Sam Cane wins Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year award

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All Blacks and Gallagher Chiefs Captain Sam Cane has received the top honour at the 2020 ASB Rugby Awards tonight, claiming the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial award for overall Player of the Year, after also picking up the All Black of the Year title.

This year’s awards were presented in a made-for-TV special on Sky, with awards presented to New Zealand’s leading teams and individuals.

Cane was tireless in 2020 with consistent performances and outstanding leadership across a challenging year, leading the All Blacks to a Bledisloe Cup series win and the Investec Tri Nations title.

This year’s Steinlager Salver, the New Zealand Rugby tradition of recognising an outstanding contribution to rugby, went to rugby legend and former All Black Sir Bryan Williams.

Williams is a figurehead of the game, contributing as a player, coach and administrator for more than 50 years, his commitment has also been recognised as an inductee into the World Rugby Hall of Fame and a Knighthood in 2018. More recently has been a key figure behind the Moana Pasifika team.

The Black Ferns Sevens’ domination on the world stage was recognised yet again in 2020, with the team collecting the adidas New Zealand Team of the Year for the third consecutive year, and coaches Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney crowned ASB New Zealand Coaches of the Year after also winning the same category in 2019.

Māori All Blacks captain, Highlanders and Hawke’s Bay hooker Ash Dixon was recognised for his stellar season by claiming the Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year, while his Hawke’s Bay teammate halfback Folau Fakatava was awarded the Duane Monkley Medal for the best player in the Mitre 10 Cup.

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-All Blacks 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’.

Scott Robertson again won the ASB National Coach of the Year Award after masterminding the Crusaders Investec Super Rugby Aotearoa title win while first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga was crowned Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year. The adidas National Team of the Year was awarded to Tasman for their efforts in defending the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership title.

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 and works 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 the first New Zealand referee to control an All Blacks fixture in 40 years when he refereed the All Blacks vs Australia Test 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 union Horowhenua Kapiti. Chamberlain is an incredibly active member of the rugby community.

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.

“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.”

ASB Chief Marketing Officer Shane Evans said the awards recognised the effort and accomplishments of everyone involved in the sport.

“In a year unlike any we have seen before, it was important to ASB that we were able to celebrate the people involved in our great game. Even in this Covid interrupted year, the quality of finalists for these awards was impressive and a reflection of the strength and depth of rugby in New Zealand.

“We would like to congratulate all of the winners on their achievements and would like to acknowledge everyone involved in the game from grassroots to the top, including the players, volunteers, coaches, office staff and referees who pushed through many obstacles this season.” said Evans.

2020 ASB Rugby Awards (winners in bold)
Sky TV Fans Try of the Year
Neria Fomai (Hawke’s Bay)
Jack Jones (Christ’s College)
Bethel Lutele-Malasia (Napier Boys’ High School)

New Zealand Referee of the Year
Ben O’Keeffe (Horowhenua Kapiti)
Paul Williams (Taranaki)
Mike Fraser (Wellington)

Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year
Allen Grainger (Waikato)
Scott Kahle (Bay of Plenty)
Jane Chamberlain (Horowhenua Kapiti)

NZRPA Kirk Award
Andy Ellis

Steinlager Salver
Sir Bryan Williams

Duane Monkley Medal (Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year)
Kaleb Trask (Bay of Plenty)
Salesi Rayasi (Auckland)
Folau Fakatava (Hawke’s Bay)

Fiao’o Faamausili Medal (Farah Palmer Cup Player of the Year)
Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury)
Stacey Fluhler (Waikato)
Chelsea Alley (Waikato)

ASB National Coach of the Year
Scott Robertson (Crusaders)
Andrew Goodman and Clarke Dermody (Tasman)
James Semple (Waikato FPC)
Mark Ozich (Hawke’s Bay)

ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year
Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (Black Ferns Sevens)
Ian Foster (All Blacks)
Clark Laidlaw (All Blacks Sevens)
Glenn Moore (Black Ferns)
Clayton McMillian (Maori All Blacks)

Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury, Crusaders)
Patrick Tuipulotu (Auckland, Blues)
Jordie Barrett (Taranaki, Hurricanes)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu, Highlanders)

Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year
Ash Dixon (Ngāti Tahinga, Hawke’s Bay)
Aaron Smith (Ngāti Kahungunu, Manawatu)
Stacey Fluhler (Tuhoe/Te Arawa, Waikato)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (North Harbour)

Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year
Kelly Brazier (Bay of Plenty)
Tyla Nathan-Wong (Northland)
Stacey Fluhler (Waikato)

Black Ferns Player of the Year
Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury)
Kennedy Simon (Waikato)
Chelsea Alley (Waikato)

All Blacks Player of the Year
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty)
Dane Coles (Wellington)
Aaron Smith (Manawatu)

Adidas National Team of the Year
Hawke’s Bay
Canterbury (FPC)

Adidas New Zealand Team of the Year
All Blacks
All Blacks Sevens
Black Ferns
Black Ferns Sevens
Māori All Blacks

Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year
Sam Cane

2020 Gallagher Chiefs Captain Sam Cane wins Kelvin R Tremain Player of the Year award