The New Zealand Rugby Awards will be held tonight at the SkyCity Convention Centre in Auckland. Many Māori have been nominated and for the first time, a female has been nominated for overall player of the year.r.
This year’s nominations for the Tom French Memorial Cup (Best Māori player of the year) include Rieko Ioane (Te Whānau-a-Apanui/Ngāpuhi), Liam Squire (Ngāi Tahu), and Charlie Ngātai from the East Coast.
Māori All Blacks kaumātua Luke Crawford tells Te Kāea his predictions, “My mind's telling me Rieko will take it out after recently winning the Breakthrough Player of the Year award overseas. His movements- he is very powerful and he is still young. I do hope he has a long future in the All Blacks. However, because he's a veteran in the game, my heart points to Charlie. He has the maturity to see what's happening in the game.”
In a first, Black Ferns Sevens Captain Sarah Goss (Ngāti Kahungunu) is the first woman to ever be nominated for overall player of the year.
Goss has also played for the world champion Black Ferns side. Tonight, she's up against Rieko Ioane and Crusaders lock Sam Whitelock for the Kelvin Tremain Trophy, which has been around since 1991.
Crawford says, “She has achieved so much, which is why she is recognised as a top player in the sport. A great player for Manawatū, for grassroots rugby too, and at the World Cup. She is great for the game, and it's only right that she is nominated for the Kelvin Tremain Trophy.”