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New Zealand Rugby has announced the nominations for the 2019 ASB Rugby Awards and a smattering of Bay of Plenty athletes, coaches and volunteers have made the cut.
Bay of Plenty Steamers midfielder Chase Tiatia proved to be a real game-changer in 2019 and is nominated for the Duane Monkley Medal for top performer in the Mitre 10 Cup.
Blessed with speed, footwork and an uncanny ability to slip out of tackles, Tiatia played a crucial role in helping the Steamers secure a Championship win and promotion to the Premiership for 2020. He is up against Gareth Evans (Hawke’s Bay), Salesi Rayasi (Auckland) and Fletcher Smith (Waikato).
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The world champion Black Ferns Sevens, based in Mount Maunganui, claimed their fifth World Series crown this year. Bay of Plenty’s Kelly Brazier has been nominated for Black Ferns Sevens Player of the Year, up against captain Sarah Hirini (Manawatu) and Tyla Nathan-Wong (Auckland). Rotorua’s Allan Bunting co-coaches the Black Fern Sevens alongside Cory Sweeney and the pair have been jointly nominated for New Zealand Coach of the Year.
With public voting now closed, the hotly contested Sky Television Fans Try of the Year has been narrowed from a long list of 10 to three. Fans have put Rotorua Boys’ High School player Stuart Leach, Otago Spirit’s Sheree Hume and All Black TJ Perenara in the top three with the fans’ final winner to be revealed at next weeks’ awards event.
Bay of Plenty also featured in the Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year nominations with Ian Spraggon recognised for decades of service.
Spraggon, affectionately known as “Sprags”, has been the rugby sevens co-ordinator at the AIMS Games since 2010. At this year’s event, on his 77th birthday, he was awarded the first-ever lifetime AIMS Games Pass in recognition of his years spent
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