Chiefs up for NZ gong
The All Blacks and the Super Rugby-winning Chiefs dominate this year's nominations for the 2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards.
The annual awards, celebrating the best of New Zealand rugby talent and achievement during the year, will be held on December 14.
Chiefs captain Craig Clarke, who battled through injury to play the Super Rugby final, and Chiefs playmaker Aaron Cruden have been nominated for Super Rugby Player of the Year alongside the Hurricanes' inspirational captain Conrad Smith.
The Chiefs' historic Super Rugby win this year, Canterbury's fifth consecutive title in the ITM Cup and the All Blacks' haul of the Rugby Championship, Bledisloe Cup and Freedom Cup have seen all three champion sides nominated for adidas Team of the Year.
First-year Chiefs coach Dave Rennie, All Blacks Sevens maestro Gordon Tietjens and All Blacks coach Steve Hansen have all been nominated for New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year.
Chiefs and Counties Manukau speedster Tim Nanai-Williams has been nominated for ITM Cup Player of the Year alongside Canterbury's storming runner Robbie Fruean and Auckland's paceman Charles Piutau.
All Blacks Sevens stars Tomasi Cama, who currently holds the world's second highest all time points in Sevens tournaments, has been nominated alongside his team-mates Tim Mikkelson and Lote Raikabula for the Richard Crawshaw Sevens Player of the Year award.
Outstanding form in this year's ITM Cup have seen New Zealand U20 talent Jason Emery, Ofa Tu'ungafasi and Jordan Taufua earn nominations for New Zealand's Age Grade Player of the Year. All three have also been selected into Super Rugby squads for 2013.
New Zealand's most experienced female referee Nicky Inwood, former golden boot turned referee Glen Jackson, and the ever impressive Chris Pollock have been nominated for Referee of the Year.
Nominations for the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year, and the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year, and the NZRU Women's Player of the Year will be confirmed in early December when the All Blacks, Black Ferns and Maori All Blacks complete their northern tours.
The Steinlager Salver award, the annual presentation recognising a person's exceptional contribution to New Zealand rugby, will also be revealed on the night.
2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards Nominees
Super Rugby Player of the Year:
Craig Clarke (Chiefs)
Aaron Cruden (Chiefs)
Conrad Smith (Hurricanes)
Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year:
Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
Tim Mikkelson (Waikato)
Lote Raikabula (Wellington)
NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year:
NZRU Referee of the Year:
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year:
Bill Anderson (Southland)
Jim Lonergan (Auckland)
Ray Watson (Bay of Plenty)
ITM Cup Player of the Year:
Robbie Fruean (Canterbury)
Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau)
Charles Piutau (Auckland)
Heartland Championship Player of the Year:
Ben Coman (Buller)
Tau Moeke (East Coast)
Peter Rowe (Wanganui)
New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year:
Steve Hansen (All Blacks)
Dave Rennie (Chiefs)
Gordon Tietjens (All Blacks Sevens)
adidas Team of the Year: