All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore has headed off strong challenges from teamates Richie McCaw and Piri Weepu to receive the top award, at the New Zealand rugby awards in Auckland tonight.
The Hurricanes hooker wins the Kel Tremain player of the year award along with the Super 14 player of the year award and goes someway to easing the disappointment of having to return home early from the Grand Slam tour after being injured in the Bledisloe Cup match in Hong Kong.
Other All Blacks to pick up awards were Southland captain Jamie Mackintosh, who won the Air New Zealand Cup Player of the Year, and Weepu, who won the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year Award.
The All Blacks won Team of the Year and Graham Henry coach of the year.
Auckland Victoria Grant was Women's Player of the Year, Wanganui's Cameron Crowley the Heartland Championship Player of the Year and Hawke's Bay's Zac Guildford the Age Grade Player of the Year.
Former All Blacks skipper Tane Norton was awarded the Steinlager Salver, for an outstanding contribution to New Zealand rugby.