Hore claims New Zealand player of the year crown
December 4, 2008
New Zealand player of the year Andrew Hore (R) and Maori player of the year Piri Weepu at last night's awards © Getty Images
Injured All Blacks hooker Andrew Hore has scooped a notable double at the annual New Zealand rugby awards in Auckland.
Hore was rewarded for a superb year for on the domestic and international stage with the prestigious Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial Player of the Year award and also the Super 14 Player of the Year honour, seeing off stiff competition from the likes of fellow All Blacks Richie McCaw and Piri Weepu..
Hore cemented his position as the All Blacks' top hooker this season with fine performances throughout their Tri-Nations campaign, before an ankle injury in the opening minutes of the Hong Kong Bledisloe Cup Test ruled him out of the Grand Slam tour.
Graham Henry's Grand Slam-winning All Blacks claimed the Team of the Year honour, a stark contrast to their Rugby World Cup shame last season. With 14 wins out of 16 Tests this season, the All Blacks retained their Tri-Nations and Bledisloe Cup crowns before sweeping aside the challenge of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England.
Southland skipper and new All Black cap Jamie Mackintosh took home the New Zealand Cup Player of the Year award, while the resurgent Piri Weepu claimed Maori Player of the Year. New Zealand Sevens captain DJ Forbes claimed the Sevens award, to add to the IRB prize that he secured last month.
Other winners included Auckland wing Victoria Grant, who claimed women's player of the year, Wanganui's Cameron Crowley, who was named the Heartland championship player of the year, and Hawke's Bay's Zac Guildford, who retained his young player of the year crown.
Also at the ceremony, six of New Zealand's most decorated All Blacks were awarded Test caps in recognition of their first Test match. The players represented six generations of All Blacks who missed out on their first caps as the tradition was put aside between the end of World War Two and 1997.
Fred Allen (representing the 1940s), Sir Wilson Whineray (1950s), Sir Brian Lochore (1960s), Andy Dalton (1970s), Buck Shelford (1980s) and Olo Brown (1990s) all turned out to be presented with their caps, and now over 400 players will receive theirs in a series of presentations over the next two years.
Presentations will begin during next year's All Blacks Test series, and the families of those All Blacks who have passed away have been invited to collect their caps by NZRU chairman Jack Hobbs.
The full list of winners:
NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year - Zac Guildford (New Zealand Under-20, Hurricanes, Hawke's Bay)