Sport and Recreation Minister Jonathan Coleman paid tribute last night to New Zealand’s top rugby players and administrators at the annual New Zealand Rugby Union awards.
“It has been another exceptional year for New Zealand rugby and I congratulate all the winners and finalists across all categories. They should be very proud of their contribution to rugby and to New Zealand,” says Dr Coleman.
“It is great to see the international success of our All Blacks and Black Ferns flowing through to increased numbers taking to the field.”
Dr Coleman presented Black Ferns’ player Rawinia Everitt with the Women’s Player of the Year Award, at the Viaduct Events Centre in Auckland.
“Women’s rugby continues to go from strength to strength. The number of female players increased by 12 per cent in the last year to 17,825,” says Dr Coleman.
“The Black Ferns have a great record as international champions of women’s rugby. Earlier in June they claimed a clean sweep of the International Women’s Rugby Series against Australia, Canada and Samoa.
“The profile of women’s rugby continues to rise with the inclusion of the women’s Sevens at the 2016 Olympics, and the increasing popularity of the Women’s Provincial Championship.”