All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw has been named the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year in the 2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards which also saw accolades for All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen, and the World Champion All Blacks.
McCaw's consistently outstanding performance, relentless workrate and inspiring leadership on and off the field, have seen him take the title for the fourth time in the 18-year history of the award. McCaw, 31, was also named the Kelvin Tremain Memorial Player of the Year in 2003, 2006 and 2009.
The All Blacks' continued dominance through the international season which saw them take a clean sweep of the Steinlager Series, retain the Bledisloe Cup and win the Investec Rugby Championship and a three from four record on the Air New Zealand End of Year Tour resulted in them winning the adidas Team of the Year award. They edged out Investec Super Rugby Champions, the Chiefs and five-in-a-row ITM Cup winners, Canterbury.
In a year in which he anointed several new All Blacks and led a convincing international campaign, Head Coach Steve Hansen picked up his first Coach of the Year Award, seeing out challenges from Chiefs Coach Dave Rennie and All Blacks Sevens maestro Gordon Tietjens.
Auckland loose forward Rawinia Everitt has been rewarded for a solid season both in the Women's Provincial Championship and in the black jersey with the Black Ferns, as she was named the NZRU Women's Player of the Year.
All Blacks and Chiefs loose forward Liam Messam was named the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year, while Manawatu Turbos and New Zealand Under 20 emerging talent Jason Emery won the NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year.
This year's IRB Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama has added the NZRU Sevens Player of the Year to his bow, while professional-player-turned-professional-referee Glen Jackson was named the NZRU Referee of the Year.
An inspiring season from Hurricanes captain and centre Conrad Smith saw him pick up the Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year award, while Canterbury's Robbie Fruean picked up the ITM Cup Player of the Year award for the second time, having won it in 2010. Wanganui's Peter Rowe was named the Heartland Player of the Year.
Bay of Plenty Rugby's Ray Watson was named this year's Charles Munro Volunteer of the Year, in recognition of his contribution to junior rugby which has seen growth in the union's player numbers.
The Steinlager Salver award, which recognises exceptional contributions to New Zealand rugby, was presented to Southland stalwart, former player, and coach and long-time administrator Ray Harper.
The 84-year-old served the Southland rugby administration for 24 years, becoming a Life Member. He represented Southland on the NZRFU Council for 13 years from 1974, during a time when the Council faced challenging issues including the 1981 Springbok tour. Harper had a hand in planning the Rugby World Cup in 1987 and in between his council commitments; he managed the Junior All Blacks on three tours as well as the All Blacks on tours to Australia and Wales in 1980.
NZRU Chairman Mike Eagle congratulated all the winners of this year's awards.
"These annual awards are a great celebration of rugby right across New Zealand and the tight competition reflects the class talent we have in individuals and the successful teams New Zealand continues to produce.
"2012 has been a remarkable year with the Chiefs taking their first Investec Super Rugby championship, Canterbury winning an unprecedented five consecutive titles, and the All Blacks Sevens notching up their tenth Sevens World Series title.
"The provincial game this year gave us many heart-stopping moments including extra time semifinal drama and historic scenes in Ruatoria as East Coast claimed their first Meads Cup win and in Westport where Buller won the Lochore Cup - their first ever piece of provincial rugby silverware.
"Congratulations also to all the individuals nominated for tonight's awards. Whether on or off the field, they have made significant contributions to New Zealand rugby and they are an important part of why New Zealand rugby is in good health.
"These awards also remind us that the game is nothing without the fans, or the young people who want to play, and without the thousands of volunteers who help manage and support the game at all levels.
"These are the true heroes of our game, and we acknowledge that," Eagle said.
Special presentations of greenstone mere were made to All Blacks Sevens captain DJ Forbes, and All Blacks Sevens veterans Lote Raikabula and Sevens Player of the Year Tomasi Cama, to mark 50 tournaments each. A mere was also presented to All Blacks assistant manager Gilbert Enoka in recognition of his assisting the team in 150 Tests.
The Steinlager Rugby Awards judging panel consists of:
• Former All Blacks captain and former NZRU President, Andy Leslie
• Veteran rugby media and commentator Grant Nisbett
• Former All Blacks captain and NZRU Board member Graham Mourie
• NZRU General Manager Community Rugby and panel chair Brent Anderson.
The Steinlager Rugby Awards were held at Auckland's SKY City Convention Centre.
2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards
Kelvin Tremain Memorial Player of the Year:
• Richie McCaw
adidas Team of the Year:
• All Blacks
New Zealand Rugby Coach of the Year:
• Steve Hansen (All Blacks)
NZRU Women's Player of the Year:
• Rawinia Everitt
Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year:
• Tomasi Cama (Manawatu)
NZRU Age Grade Player of the Year
• Jason Emery
Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year:
• Liam Messam
Investec Super Rugby Player of the Year:
• Conrad Smith (Hurricanes)
NZRU Referee of the Year:
• Glen Jackson
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year:
• Ray Watson (Bay of Plenty)
ITM Cup Player of the Year:
• Robbie Fruean (Canterbury)
Heartland Championship Player of the Year:
• Peter Rowe (Wanganui)
• Ray Harper (Southland)