In a night of accolades raining down on the new Rugby World Cup champions South Africa, the awards were also an opportunity to celebrate New Zealand’s eight nominations. The Awards ceremony to recognise the best in World Rugby, was held in Japan the night after South Africa’s record-setting triumph over England.
New Zealand Rugby Chief Executive Steve Tew congratulated South Africa for a remarkable win that had won over the hearts of many rugby fans around the world.
“The All Blacks love the contest and rivalry with South Africa, but we also share a special friendship borne out of mutual respect, admiration and love for the game. They deserve the accolades and we look forward to hosting the World Champions in New Zealand during the Investec Rugby Championship next year," he said.
As the curtain closed on RWC 2019, Tew acknowledged the efforts of World Rugby and Japan Rugby to host a remarkable tournament which saw record crowds at matches.
Tew gave special tribute to Ruby Tui, named Women’s Sevens player of the year, and TJ Perenara, who won Try of the Year.
“The Black Ferns Sevens show us every year just how remarkable they are. We were proud even before the ceremony began, knowing that every nominee in the Women’s Sevens category was a Black Ferns Sevens athlete, and one of our own was guaranteed to take the trophy. This speaks volumes about how highly regarded they are on the world stage.
“Congratulations to Ruby on winning this award. She can be very proud of her efforts in striving for excellence; her leadership both on and off the field make her a key figure in the team. I know that her fellow nominees, Tyla Nathan-Wong and skipper Sarah Hirini, would be equally thrilled for her,” he said.
"TJ's try was a pure crowd pleaser - there wouldn't be too many fans watching in the stand or at home, that wouldn't have been impressed with the skill on display, and the sheer excitement that that try delivered.
“I do want to acknowledge Steve Hansen, Ardie Savea, Kendra Cocksedge and the All Blacks for the nominations they received. I know that all of these people consider it a privilege to be considered among the world’s best and they can be very proud of their contribution to rugby, and to the way they have represented the black jersey,” Tew said.