2007 Steinlager Rugby Award winners announced     14 Dec 2007    

The 26-year-old was presented with the Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial Trophy at the awards show at the SKYCITY Auckland Convention Centre in Auckland.

Daniel Braid, who was a key member of three of New Zealand rugby’s most successful sides – the Rebel Sport Super 14 semifinalist Blues, the unbeaten Junior All Blacks and the all-conquering Air New Zealand Cup Auckland side – was also named Maori Player of the Year. He was also a nominee for Rebel Sport Super 14 Player of the Year.

The Steinlager Salver, a special presentation to those who have made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand rugby, was presented to former All Blacks manager and respected Auckland rugby administrator Ron Don.

Ron Don played rugby for the Grammar Club in the 1940s and 1950s before moving into administration. A vocal and passionate rugby supporter, he served on the Auckland Rugby Football Union management committee, the Eden Park Board of Control, the then New Zealand Rugby Union Council and, more recently, the NZRU Appeal Council. He was manager of the All Blacks 1976 – 1977 and also helped organise the inaugural Rugby World Cup in 1987.

In other awards, Steve Walsh, who refereed five Tests this year, including the Rugby World Cup semifinal between South Africa and Argentina, was named Referee of the Year.

New Zealand Sevens captain DJ Forbes, who helped his team claim a remarkable seventh IRB Sevens World Series title in June, was named Sevens Player of the Year.

Auckland Storm and Black Ferns lock Victoria Heighway was named Women’s Player of the Year. She had been nominated three times previously for this award.

Highlanders halfback Jimmy Cowan was named Rebel Sport Super 14 Player of the Year.

Hawke’s Bay winger Zac Guildford, who was part of the world champion New Zealand Under 19 side, was named NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year.

Zac Guildford’s Hawke’s Bay and New Zealand Under 19 teams were nominated for the adidas Team of the Year, which was won by the all-conquering Auckland provincial side.

Auckland achieved a rare rugby treble this year – they were unbeaten in the Air New Zealand Cup, won the competition overall and claimed the Ranfurly Shield.

Hawke’s Bay coach Peter Russell was named Coach of the Year beating off strong challenges from Auckland coach Pat Lam and New Zealand Sevens coach Gordon Tietjens.

The Air New Zealand Cup Player of the Year is outstanding Auckland pivot Isa Nacewa while rangy North Otago flanker Ross Hay was named AA Rewards Heartland Championship Player of the Year.

The New Zealand Rugby Volunteer of the Year award, which honours the many volunteers who work in community rugby, was won by Robbie Ball from Northland’s Kaeo Rugby Club. A builder by trade, Mr Ball was instrumental in rebuilding the club’s facilities following devastating floods in the Northland region this year. His efforts were recognised earlier this year when he was named Administrator of the Year at the Far North Sports Awards.

The judges for the 2007 Steinlager Rugby Awards were former All Blacks captain and former NZRU President John Graham, NZRU Board member and former New Zealand Maori captain Paul Quinn, SKY Sport rugby commentator Grant Nisbett, veteran journalist and author Bob Howitt, and NZRU Professional Rugby Manager Neil Sorensen.
The full list of winners at the 2007 Steinlager Rugby Awards is as follows:

NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year Zac Guildford (New Zealand Under 19, Hawke’s Bay)

Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year DJ Forbes (Auckland)

NZRU Referee of the Year Steve Walsh (North Harbour)

Women’s Player of the Year Victoria Heighway (Auckland)

New Zealand Rugby Volunteer of the Year Robbie Ball (Northland)

Rebel Sport Super 14 Player of the Year Jimmy Cowan (Highlanders)
adidas Team of the Year Auckland

Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year Daniel Braid

AA Rewards Heartland Championship Player of the Year Ross Hay (North Otago)

Air New Zealand Cup Player of the Year Isa Nacewa (Auckland)

New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year Peter Russell (Hawke’s Bay)

Steinlager Salver for an Outstanding Contribution to New Zealand Rugby Ron Don

Kelvin R. Tremain Memorial Player of the Year Daniel Braid (Blues, Junior All Blacks, Auckland)