New awards announced to recognise top provincial rugby players     16 Aug 2017    

The awards will be determined under a new points system, with the inaugural winners to be revealed at the ASB Rugby Awards in December. The medals have been named after two long-serving players, both of whom epitomise the strengths and values of provincial rugby, said New Zealand Rugby Head of Provincial Unions Steve Lancaster. 

“Duane and Fiao’o are incredible individuals who have given, and continue to give, so much to our game,” said Lancaster.

“Their commitment, leadership and passion for the game is everything these competitions stand for and it will be a great privilege for our best players to be awarded a medal in their honour.

“Although these players proudly wore their own provincial colours, there is no doubt their contribution to the spirit and legacy of the national provincial competitions, can be celebrated by all unions," Lancaster said. 

Monkley was a Waikato stalwart for a decade, playing 135 matches between 1987 and 1996. He continues to have an active involvement in the game as President of the Waikato Rugby Union. He’s considered a local legend for his efforts for the Union.

Fa’amausili is currently captaining the Black Ferns for her fifth Women’s Rugby World Cup, and is set to become the first Black Fern to reach 50 Test caps, and potentially the first woman to bring up 100 provincial matches when she returns to play for the Auckland Storm in September.

The Player of the Year awards will be determined by a season-points system, with match officials picking their players of the match awarding three points, two points and one point for the game’s top three performers. A season scoreboard will keep track of the tally, with the players sitting at the top of each chart to be announced as the winners at the ASB Rugby Awards on 14 December. Previously the provincial player of the year has been determined at the end of the season by a judging panel. 

The new awards system mirrors the AFLs Brownlow Medal, where points are awarded to the top three players in every match throughout the season.

The medals have been designed by renowned Maori artist Dave Burke, who has previously worked with New Zealand Rugby to design the Maori All Blacks jersey.

The concept was to create a medal that was befitting of New Zealand heritage that honoured hard work, dedication, commitment to the game and team mates and having mana on and off the field.

Medal Design Elements
The pounamu is a rugby ball, with two people in the act of hongi; the spirit of coming together as one. The mountain represents our country with the design inside referencing heart, protection, growth and positivity. The three koru shapes at the bottom represent past, present and future players. The poutama, represents striving to be better physically, mentally and spiritually with a step design. The face in the centre is the warriors spirit for both male and female; strength of spirit and belief.