10 Nov 2011

World Cup dominates NZ Rugby Awards nominees

2:19 pm on 10 November 2011

The Rugby World Cup-winning All Blacks dominate the list of nominees for this year's New Zealand Rugby Awards.

The victorious All Blacks team, individual stars of the squad and winning coach Graham Henry dominate six of the 13 award categories.

The Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year will be hotly contested between All Black stars Ma'a Nonu and Jerome Kaino, both finalists in the IRB's Player of the Year award, and captain Richie McCaw.

The RWC-winning All Blacks will face the biggest challenge for the Team of the Year Award from Super Rugby finalists the Crusaders, who played their entire season away from home after the devastation of the Canterbury earthquakes. Other nominees are ITM Cup champions Canterbury and the World Series champion New Zealand Sevens team.

Graham Henry, who last week announced he was standing down as All Blacks coach after directing the side to their RWC victory and winning the IRB Coach of the Year title, is a nominee for the New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year Award. He is joined by Sevens maestro Gordon Tietjens and four-time national provincial championship winning Canterbury coach Rob Penney.

Three members of the 2011 All Blacks also feature in the Super Rugby Player of the Year..... Blues captain and hooker Keven Mealamu, Highlanders loose forward Adam Thomson and Crusaders prop Wyatt Crockett are all in contention.

All Blacks first five-eighth Aaron Cruden is up against Canterbury loose forward Nasi Manu and Taranaki openside flanker Scott Waldrom for ITM Cup Player of the Year.

All Blacks general Piri Weepu faces stiff competition for the treasured Tom French Memorial Māori Player of the Year Award, from his All Blacks team-mates Israel Dagg and Cory Jane.