Aaron Smith is the only All Blacks player that has been nominated in more than one category for the 2021 New Zealand Rugby awards.
Smith has been nominated for the Super Rugby Player of the Year and Maori Player of the Year awards.
In the first category, scrumhalf Smith will compete with Crusaders flyhalf Richie Mo’unga and Blues loose forward Dalton Papali’i.
In the second award category, Smith will go up against Highlanders hooker Ash Dixon and Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini.
Ardie Savea, Will Jordan, Jordie Barrett and Rieko Ioane make up the list of nominees for the prestigious All Blacks Player of the Year.
Current All Blacks Sevens co-captain Scott Curry has been nominated alongside teammates Andrew Knewstubb and Ngarohi McGarvey-Black for Sevens Player of the Year.
The Coach of the Year nominees include Crusaders boss Scott Robertson, Neil Barnes (Taranaki), Ross Filipo (Waikato NPC) and James Semple (Waikato FPC). Interestingly, All Blacks coach Ian Foster was overlooked for the award.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions on public gatherings, the awards will be presented in a made-for-TV special at 8pm Wednesday, 15 December.
“Despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, we’ve seen incredible resilience, dedication and excellence in our game,’ New Zealand Rugby CEO Mark Robinson said.
“We are looking forward to celebrating the contributions and excellence across our rugby community and recognising what’s been another exciting year for rugby. I’d like to congratulate all the nominees, who once again show the breadth of talent we are lucky to have at all levels of our game.”