The 22-year-old speedster has enjoyed a sensational debut year with the Crusaders, racking up 13 tries in just 11 appearances and featuring highly on all attacking statistics.
Reece amassed 19 ‘rookie watch’ points across the 2019 season to nudge Blues loose forward Tom Robinson for the title by just two points. It really was a two-horse race between Reece and Robinson for the title with Will Jordan in third place back on nine points.
QUICK TAP: FIVE TALKING POINTS FROM ROUND 18
Although the ‘Rookie of the Year’ competition is complete for 2019, Reece will have the chance to earn more accolades as he enters a playoffs campaign with the Crusaders.
Here are our top three performing rookies from the weekend:
3: Danny Toala (Hurricanes)
Playing in just his second game for the Hurricanes, 20-year-old midfielder Danny Toala could have easily been intimidated by marking double Rugby World Cup winner Sonny Bill Williams. But there were no signs of nerves as Toala stayed close to Williams on defence and showed his ball running danger with a clean break to set up Peter Umaga-Jensen for a try at the end of the first half. Toala’s ball distribution was impressive throughout and his combination in the midfield with Umaga-Jensen is one to watch for the future.
2: Tanielu Tele’a (Blues)
Tele’a was one of the Blues best as they leapt to a commanding 24-5 lead over the Hurricanes at halftime. The skilful 21-year-old combined well with the returning Sonny Bill Williams and was well placed to score the Blues opening try. He set the tone for the Blues performance in the first half with a number of big tackles and will be a big part of the Blues squad in the future.
1: Du’Plessis Kirifi (Hurricanes)
It was another workmanlike performance from loose forward Du’Plessis Kirifi. Ravenous at the breakdown and tireless around the park. Kirifi was never far from the action. The 22-year-old Francis Douglas Memorial College product stood up to the Blues much-vaunted loose forward trio of Akira Ioane, Blake Gibson and Dalton Papalii and is sure to get more minutes during the playoffs campaign.
Sevu Reece: 19
Tom Robinson: 17
Will Jordan: 9
Etene Nanai-Seturo: 8
Harry Plummer: 8
Liam Mitchell: 7
Tanielu Tele'a: 6
Du'Plessis Kirifi: 6
Richard Judd: 5
Tumua Manu: 4
Danny Toala: 3
Folau Fakatava: 3
Kane Leaupepe: 3
Bailyn Sullivan: 2
Josh Iosefa-Scott: 1
Dan Hollinshead: 1
QUARTERFINALS | Breathtaking final round! Against all odds, the @Highlanders and @ChiefsRugby have snuck into the playoffs! Who are you backing to make the semifinals? ??#RaiseTheStakes pic.twitter.com/CcaTA5Filt— Super Rugby (@SuperRugbyNZ) June 16, 2019