Ardie Savea won three awards at New Zealand Rugby’s awards evening on Thursday, including being named as the 2019 Player of the Year.
Savea, who underwent knee surgery today and was not able to attend the awards ceremony, was named Super Rugby Player of the Year and All Blacks Player of the Year.
The 26-year-old loose forward reached a new level of play in 2019, starting eight of the All Blacks’ 10 Test matches and showing strength and versatility across the back row.
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Savea was a monster presence on the field in attack – often taking defenders for a ride – and on defence displayed a freakish ability to turn crucial ball over at the breakdown.
Three-peat Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson won his first National Coach of the Year Award, while the 10-time champions won a consecutive National Team of the Year award.
In another night for the history books, Black Ferns Sevens captain Sarah Hirini won the Tom French Cup for Maori Player of the Year, the first woman to do so in the 70-year history of the award.
What a night at the #ASBRugbyAwards! Catch up on all the winners from New Zealand rugby’s biggest night.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) December 12, 2019
Outgoing NZR chief executive Steve Tew was recognised for an outstanding contribution to New Zealand rugby.
The award is determined by the NZR Board and event staff were forced to deploy ingenious means to keep the award secret from Tew, who would normally have full visibility of all awards.
NZR board chair Brent Impey noted Tew’s 25-year service to rugby administration including 18 years with New Zealand Rugby. Tew was appointed chief executive in 2008.
‘It has been a wonderful and successful year right across rugby,’ Impey said. ‘It has been a remarkable year again for the Black Ferns Sevens and the Crusaders who have won coach and team awards.
‘As for Ardie, what an absolute pleasure he has been to watch this year. Both as a Hurricane and an All Black, this young man has been in sublime form and we hope to see much more of him next year.’
TJ Perenara’s thrilling sideline-skating try during World Cup 2019 was voted by fans as the Try of the Year.
Photo: EPA/FRANCK ROBICHON