Chiefs dominate NZ rugby awards finalists
The Chiefs have gained quick reward for their Super Rugby success, gaining recognition in the nominations for the 2012 Steinlager Rugby Awards.
The finalists for the awards, to be announced December 14, have been revealed with Chiefs captain Craig Clarke and playmaker Aaron Cruden contesting the Super Rugby player category along with Hurricanes skipper Conrad Smith.
Coach Dave Rennie is up against Steve Hansen (All Blacks) and Gordon Tietjens (Sevens) for the coach of the year award.
The Chiefs are also finalists in the team category, with the All Blacks and Canterbury, who won the ITM Cup for a fifth consecutive time.
Nominations for the Tom French Memorial Maori Player of the Year, and the Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year, and the NZRU Women's Player of the Year will be confirmed in early December when the All Blacks, Black Ferns and Maori All Blacks complete their northern tours.
Super Rugby Player of the Year: Craig Clarke (Chiefs), Aaron Cruden (Chiefs), Conrad Smith (Hurricanes).
Richard Crawshaw Memorial Sevens Player of the Year: Tomasi Cama (Manawatu), Tim Mikkelson (Waikato), Lote Raikabula (Wellington).
Age Grade Player of the Year: Jason Emery, Jordan Taufua, Ofa Tu'ungafasi.
Referee of the Year: Nicky Inwood, Glen Jackson, Chris Pollock.
Charles Monro Rugby Volunteer of the Year: Bill Anderson (Southland), Jim Lonergan (Auckland), Ray Watson (Bay of Plenty).
NPC Player of the Year: Robbie Fruean (Canterbury), Tim Nanai-Williams (Counties Manukau), Charles Piutau (Auckland).
Heartland Championship Player of the Year: Ben Coman (Buller), Tau Moeke (East Coast), Peter Rowe (Wanganui).
Coach of the Year: Steve Hansen (All Blacks), Dave Rennie (Chiefs), Gordon Tietjens (All Blacks Sevens).
Team of the Year: All Blacks, Canterbury, Chiefs.
Kelvin R Tremain Memorial Player of the Year, Tom French Memorial Player of the Year and NZRU Women's Player of the Year finalists to be announced at a later date.
Steinlager Salver: To be announced on the night.