All Blacks captain and flanker Sam Cane received more recognition for his achievements in 2020 as he wins a top award as the international Men’s player of the year by the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association in their annual awards.
Stepping up into the captaincy role at the start of a memorable year dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic, Cane was last week announced as New Zealand Rugby’s Player of the Year.
In achieving the players’ award, decided by player vote, he headed off prop Joe Moody, fly-half Richie Mo’unga, scrum-half Aaron Smith and lock Samuel Whitelock.
Kennedy Simon, also a flanker, from Waikato had reward for her 2019 decision to return to New Zealand from Japan when she was selected International Women’s Player of the Year.
She took the award from nominees Kendra Cocksedge, Pip Love, Charmaine McMenamin and Aroha Savage.
The players’ Sevens Players of the Year were Ngarohi McGarvey-Black (Men’s) and Stacey Fluhler (Women’s). The Men’s nominees included Scott Curry, Sam Dickson, Tim Mikkelseon and Regan Ware while the Women’s were Kelly Brazier, Sarah Hirini, Tyla Nathan-Wong and Ruby Tui.
Flanker Lachlan Boshier received recognition for his season by his choice as Players’ Super Rugby Aotearoa Player of the Year ahead of Caleb Clarke, Will Jordan, Ngani Laumape and Hoskins Sotutu.
Hawke’s Bay captain and hooker Ash Dixon capped an outstanding season by taking the Players’ Mitre 10 Cup Player of the Year award from Folau Fakatava, David Havili, Sione Havili and Salesi Rayasi.
Simon completed a second award when chosen the Players’ Farah Palmer Cup Player of the Year ahead of Alana Bremner, Stacey Fluhler, Hazel Tubic and Portia Woodman.
Otago wing Freedom Vahaakolo ended a memorable year in his rugby advance with the choice of the Players’ Young Player of the Year. He headed off AJ Lam, Josh Lord, Xavier Roe and Zarn Sullivan to claim the award.