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.
The Steinlager Salver, the New Zealand Rugby tradition of recognizing 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 recognized 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-eighth 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.
2020 ASB Rugby Awards (winners in bold)
Sky TV Fans Try of the Year
Jack Jones (Christ’s College)
New Zealand Referee of the Year
Paul Williams (Taranaki)
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year
Jane Chamberlain (Horowhenua Kapiti)
NZRPA Kirk Award
Sir Bryan Williams
Duane Monkley Medal (Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year)
Folau Fakatava (Hawke’s Bay)
Fiao’o Faamausili Medal (Farah Palmer Cup Player of the Year)
Kendra Cocksedge (Canterbury)
ASB National Coach of the Year
Scott Robertson (Crusaders)
ASB New Zealand Coach of the Year
Allan Bunting and Cory Sweeney (Black Ferns Sevens)
Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year
Richie Mo’unga (Canterbury, Crusader)
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year
Ash Dixon (Ngāti Tahinga, Hawke’s Bay)
Richard Crawshaw Memorial All Blacks Sevens Player of the Year
Scott Curry (Bay of Plenty)
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
Chelsea Alley (Waikato)
All Blacks Player of the Year
Sam Cane (Bay of Plenty)
Adidas National Team of the Year
Adidas New Zealand Team of the Year
Black Ferns Sevens
Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year
Courtesy/ All Blacks